Make the most of this season’s corn with a delicious chowder

Jess Murphy: A quick and simple recipe for coconut crusted chicken and corn ceviche

Corn and bacon chowder

Corn and bacon chowder

 

This may seem corny (excuse the pun), but it’s coming up to harvest season, and when I think of harvest it always puts me in mind of misty mornings, and of corn. Delicious corn-on-the-cob smothered with lashings of Irish butter ... yum. Forget your nectar and ambrosia, this is the real food of the gods.  

I know we all love a good chowder in this country, but there’s more to this chunky soup than just the popular seafood variety. My grandmother used to make the best corn chowder and, just like its cousin (the seafood and oyster kind), it picks you up and sorts you right out. It is kind of like the food equivalent of a feel-good movie.

 I must confess that this quick and simple recipe for coconut crusted chicken was “borrowed” from a friend of mine. Elise used to come to Galway every year for her summer holidays and cook us this chicken with sweet potato dish back when we were all going crazy for the caveman diet. I’ve adjusted it in a cheffy way by adding a few more spices and things, but it’s still simple enough that you can make it midweek, and it is lunchbox friendly. 

 Anyone remember the scene in Breaking Bad when they head over the border and stop for ceviche? Well, that golden rule still applies – never, ever eat ceviche in the desert. This one is quick and simple, made with corn in a tasty citrus marinade and served with tuna mayo. If you can’t find super-posh blue corn tortilla chips like ours, just use some regular tortilla chips instead. You can pile the ceviche on top and call them canapés to really impress your friends.

SRI LANKAN COCONUT CRUSTED CHICKEN

 Serves 4

Ingredients
6 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
100ml buttermilk
2tsp chilli powder
1tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground coriander
2tsp curry powder
200g rice flour
3 eggs beaten
200g desiccated coconut
100g ground almonds
Salt and pepper
2 red chillies, deseeded
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 bunch fresh coriander
2tbsp tamarind paste
2tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp toasted sesame oil
100ml coconut milk
150ml vegetable oil for frying

Method
1
To make the chicken brine, put the buttermilk, chilli powder, ginger, coriander and curry powder in a deep dish or plastic container and whisk until everything is evenly incorporated.

2 Add the chicken to the brine mixture and marinate for at least two hours - the longer the better, overnight in the fridge is best.

3 Set up three bowls – filling one with the rice flour, one for eggs and the last for desiccated coconut. Add the ground almonds to the desiccated coconut and season with salt and pepper.

4 Carefully remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Dredge the chicken, one piece at a time, first in the flour, then the egg and finally the coconut crumb.

5 Place onto a plate until ready for frying.

6 Make the sauce by placing the chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander, tamarind, soy, sesame oil and coconut milk into a blender. Blitz on high until the sauce is smooth. Set aside.

7 Put the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan and heat on high for five minutes until the oil is hot enough for frying.

8 Shallow fry the chicken on either side for three to five minutes, carefully turning them, using tongs. Remove from the oil when the coating has turned golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

9 Once all the chicken is cooked, garnish with more desiccated coconut and toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with the Sri Lankan sauce.

CORN AND BACON CHOWDER

Corn and bacon chowder
Corn and bacon chowder

 Serves 4

Ingredients

20ml vegetable oil
1tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
200g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 white onions, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
4 large potatoes, cubed
200ml double cream
250g sweetcorn, fresh or frozen 
1 handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method
1
Add the oil to a large saucepan set over a medium heat.

2 Once the oil has heated up, add the fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cook for two minutes, till fragrant and toasted.

3 Add the bacon and fry for five to eight minutes until the fat has nicely rendered off and the bacon and has crisped up.

4 Now add the chilli, onions, fennel and celery. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and sweat the vegetables down until soft and translucent. This should take about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking.

5 Add the vegetable stock and once simmering, add the potatoes. Continue cooking until the potatoes have become tender, about 12-15 minutes. 

6 Add the double cream and sweetcorn and cook for a further five minutes.

7 Season to taste. Just before serving, garnish with the fresh herbs. You can also top it with an extra rasher of crisp bacon, if you like. Serve the chowder with fresh bread and butter.

CORN CEVICHE AND TUNA MAYO

Corn ceviche and tuna mayo
Corn ceviche and tuna mayo

Serves 4

Ingredients
3 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed from the cob. Alternatively you can use 150g frozen sweetcorn
Half a cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
1 green pepper, very thinly sliced
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 limes, zest and juice
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
150g cooked tuna
20g mayonnaise
2tsp red wine vinegar
Large handful of Blanco Nino blue corn tortilla chips

Method
 1
Combine the corn, cucumber, green pepper, coriander, scallions, garlic and lime juice and zest in a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

2 In a second bowl, mix the tuna, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3 Divide the corn mixture between four bowls and top with the tuna mayo. 

4 Serve with tortilla chips on the side with some extra chips crumbled over the top for more texture. This is also great with crusty bread, as a snack atop crunchy crackers, or delicious eaten as a salad just as it is.

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