1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
3 ears of corn—shucked, kernels cut off and cobs reserved
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 serrano chile, minced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
1 quart heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Snipped chives, for garnish
Buttered toast, for serving
How to Make It
In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil with the shrimp shells and corn cobs. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large, heatproof bowl, pressing on the shells to remove as much stock as possible. Wipe out the pot.
In a small skillet, toast the celery and fennel seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant and starting to pop, about 45 seconds. Let cool completely. In a spice grinder or mortar, grind or crush the seeds to a powder.
In the large pot, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the yellow pepper, onion, celery and chile and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the ground fennel and celery seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir the shrimp and crabmeat into the chowder. Cover and let stand until the shrimp turn pink on the outside, about 3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and corn kernels. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat; immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the shrimp are white throughout, about 3 minutes. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with chives. Serve with buttered toast.
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