Thursday, 14 June 2007

'The Blueskin Bayleaf' column: Cockle and Corn Chowder

We know it is a little bit chilly to go out wading in the bay right
now, but if you're feeling brave, try this recipe using our local
seafood delicacy: good enough to warm the cockles of your heart! Can
be made in 20 minutes.

For 4 large servings:

2 bacon rashers
1 onion or leek
1 Tbsp butter
1 carrot
1 potato
1 cup water
2 tsp instant stock powder or salt
450g can whole kernel corn
1 – 1 1/2 cups milk
50g butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups cooked cockles (shelled & rinsed)

Finely chop onion or leek and bacon, sauté for 4-5 minutes in first
measure of butter.

Scrub and cut the carrot and potato into 1cm cubes, then cook in the
water until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cooked bacon and
onion/leek.

Strain the liquid from the canned corn and make it up to 2 cups with milk.

In another pot melt the second measure of butter and stir in the
flour. When the mixture bubbles add half of the milk mixture. Stir
frequently until boiling. Add the remaining milk and cook until the
sauce is smooth and thick.

Stir the sauce into the cooked vegetable mixture. Mash or puree if
desired then add the corn and cockles. Reheat before serving.

Top with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs. Serve with toast or crusty
bread for a complete meal.

Cooking cockles:

• Be fussy when collecting your cockles – get only the ones which are
well sealed closed and are of a decent size. I tend to avoid ones with
a lot of green tinge on the shell, although it is probably harmless.
• Bring a pot of clean fresh water to the boil and put the cockles in.
Keep a rapid boil until the shells open. The trick is to cook them
quickly at a high heat so as they don't get too chewy. Any unopened
shells should now be discarded.
• Give them a thorough rinse in running water to wash out any grit.
• Shell the cockles; eat them whole, mince, slice or dice.
• Never cook any seafood twice as it ruins the flavour and makes the
texture tough.

by Rowan Holt

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"copyleft" by Blueskin Media - may be freely re-edited and
republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

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