- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cobs
- 1 1/2 pounds large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 fennel bulbs—cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved and chopped
- 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 quart plus 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound smoked fish, such as haddock, mackerel, bluefish or trout, skinned and flaked
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the corn until just tender, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the corn to a bowl. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add to the bowl.
- In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the fennel slices, leeks, onion, thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the milk, cream, corn and potatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes, smashing some of the potatoes to thicken the soup. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add the fish and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, garnish with fennel fronds and serve.
The chowder (without the smoked fish) can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently, add the fish and serve.
Minerally white wines, like those from northern Italy’s cool Alto Adige region, are terrific paired with smoked fish.