This recipe is inspired by one made by the Blue Mermaid Chowder House and Bar in San Francisco provides a take on a typical dish enjoyed in THE City. This dish -- California Dungeness Crab and Corn Chowder -- was recognized three times in the creative category of the Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-Off.
I did not use the cilantro pesto garnish, but instead used siracha sauce instead for a kick. I also used prosciutto instead of bacon and added it to the top instead of incorporating it. The cilantro pesto garnish is prepared separately. Instructions are included after the main recipe. To serve this dish, place the chowder in a bowl, add 1 to 2 ounces of crab meat and garnish with the pesto (or siracha) and prosciutto.
· 4 ounces Applewood-smoked bacon
· 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
· 2 cups corn cut from the cob
· 2 yellow onions, diced
· 1 Pasilla chile, diced
· 1 Jalapeño pepper, split in half, seeds removed
· 2 celery stalks
· 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
· 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
· ½ tsp. chipotle powder
· 4 sprigs thyme, stem removed, leaves chopped
· 1 fresh bay leaf
· 1 quart crab or chicken stock
· 2 lbs. Kennebec or Yukon Gold potatoes, ½" diced
· 1 ½ cups heavy cream
· 2 oz. cream cheese
· ½ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
· Kosher salt to taste
· 1 lb. fresh Dungeness crab meat
· 1 bunch cilantro, diced and chopped
· ½ cup olive oil
Over low heat, add the smoked bacon (or prosciutto) to a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot. Slowly render the fat and then increase the heat to medium to make the bacon crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Leave about half the bacon fat in the pan.
Add the butter, and sauté the corn. After 4 to 6 minutes, remove the corn from the pan.
Add the onion and sauté for about 4 to 6 minutes until translucent. Be careful not to brown it.
Add diced chile and sauté an additional 4 minutes, and remove from the pan.
Add celery and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the onion, corn, pasilla and bacon to the celery.
Add Old Bay, Chipotle powder, split Jalapeño pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Just barely cover the vegetables with crab stock and then add the diced potatoes. Increase the heat to high and boil the potatoes for about 4 minutes. The goal is to soften the outside of the potato to help thicken the chowder, while keeping the potato al dente. Add 3/4 cup of crab and stir.
Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Stir for two minutes and then remove from the heat. If you need to thicken the chowder a little more smash a few of the potatoes against the side of the pot.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and fresh white pepper. Remove the Jalapeño pepper before serving.
To serve put a few pieces of crab in the bottom of the bowl, add the chowder, top with the bacon/pruscuitto, and drizzle the Siracha or Pesto
1 bunch cilantro, washed, dried and chopped
Approximately ½ cup of olive oil
Purée ingredients in a blender. Serve as a garnish on top of the chowder.