The Domestic Diva coming to you with a guest blog for Jen H.'s divalicious Piccante Dolce! My BDFF Jen H. is the queen of whipping up mouth-watering comfort food, but with a healthy twist! We'll be regularly guesting on each other's blogs, so stay tuned for more great recipes and culinary inspiration!
Who doesn't love things that are piccante and dolce? We all need a little bit of spice and sweetness in our lives, whether it's in the bedroom, or the kitchen! In the spirit of hitting all flavor profiles, I made one of my favorite recipes: Domestic Diva's Corn "Chowder" with Fresh Shucked Oysters & Crispy Bacon. This dish has it all: spice, sweetness, tartness, salt and BACON! Now, I call it a chowder, but the soup is dairy-free, rendering this a healthier dish. The key to this recipe is the way all of the components come together harmoniously to give the soup great depth of flavor, from the sweet corn, to the fresh oysters, to the tart lemon, to the rich, meaty bacon. This soup is hearty enough to be served as a meal unto itself, especially when you pair it with thick sliced, toasted bread and a great salad (see picture above) like I did last night!
A few tips for making this recipe. First, using homemade chicken stock will make a huge difference! For a quick way to make stock, check out my recipe for Domestic Diva's Crock Pot Chicken Stock (click here)! Second, to coax extra corn flavor into the broth, I reserve two of the corn cobs and simmer them in the soup. Third, the fresh oysters are key to this dish! If you're worried about shucking them, usually they'll do it for you at the seafood counter of your local store, but try to preserve the oyster juices. Finally, special kudos goes to my Top Chef Brother for inspiring this soup - his restaurant has the most amazing oysters!! So without further ado, let's get down to business and start cooking!
Domestic Diva's Corn "Chowder" with Fresh Shucked Oysters & Crispy Bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion - diced
1 garlic clove - chopped
pinch of chili flakes
3 ears of corn kernels removed and two cobs reserved
8 small Yukon gold potatoes - diced
4 cups homemade chicken stock (store bought will work too)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp tarragon - chopped
2 slices bacon
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 oysters - shucked and juices reserved
salt and pepper
To make the soup, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Then, add the garlic and chili flakes, cooking for an additional minute.
Add the corn kernels and potatoes and saute for three more minutes.
Add the corn cobs, stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmering for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
Once the soup is cooked, remove the two corn cobs and salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the oysters, in a small pot, add the oysters and their reserved juices. Lightly poach the oysters in their own juices over medium heat for a few minutes. Add a dash of lemon juice and then salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the crispy bacon, throw the two strips down in a frying pan over medium high heat, cooking until crispy. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain the fat.
To plate the dish, ladle some soup into the bottom of a bowl.
Then, add two oysters and some of their juices to the center of the soup.
Crumble crispy bacon on top and sprinkle with tarragon. Finish with a squeeze for fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing Notes: Saxum 2006 Broken Stones
Diva Rating: 3 1/2 stars
There's something about a great bottle of wine that makes me salivate! We paired this fabulous wine, a combination of 63% syrah, 24% grenache and 13% mourvedre, with this soup! My boyfriend, Kuzak calls it, "a backwards Rhone," based on the unique blending of grapes. We love Saxum Winery (click here for their website), a superstar Paso Robles winery, and this wine met our every expectation. Full of great fruit (raspberry, blackberry) and plenty of backbone, this opulent wine gave great early on and drank well throughout the night. I gave it a Diva Rating of 3 1/2 stars, a strong score if you know how selective I am about my wine. Broken Stones is a big wine that will no doubt drink well for many years to come! If you've never tried Saxum, seek them out. I promise that you won't be disappointed!