If there’s corn chowder on the menu, I’m ordering it. Especially when I am in Florida or in Montauk and it’s after a cold-water dive, this dish is the ultimate comfort food. It is also a fantastic way to use your leftover fish! You made mussels the night before? Throw ’em in! This version is modeled after what I believe to be the ultimate chowder: rich, creamy, kind of fatty, and a tad spicy. If you don’t use all the clam juice, make yourself a Bloody Caesar (aka the best cocktail ever: tomato juice, clam juice, spices, and vodka).
For corn chowder
- 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3/4 pound red baby potatoes, quartered
- 2 cups Fish Stock or water
- 1 cup bottled clam juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Bahama Mama spice mix (see below)
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound flaky white fish, such as cod or mahi mahi, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves only, for garnish
For Bahama Mama spice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a large pot set over medium-high heat, add the pancetta (if using) and the butter and cook until the pancetta is almost crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and potatoes. Cook until the onions are almost translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the fish stock, clam juice, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and spice mix. Let the soup come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Add the corn, milk, cream, and cubed fish and mix well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer until it reaches a thick, luxurious consistency, about 15 minutes.
- Garnish with the parsley before serving.