Wednesday, September 8, 2004  -  Food Section






     10 ears         fresh corn, shucked

                     vegetable oil (for rubbing)

      2 Tablespoons  butter

      1 medium       spanish onion, finely chopped

      2 Tablespoons  flour

      4 cups         whole milk

      1 cup          chicken stock or water

                     salt and pepper, to taste

      2 Tablespoons  chopped fresh thyme


1. Light a gas or charcoal grill. Set the gas grill at medium or wait    until the charcoals turn gray.


2. Rub each ear of corn with a faint amount of oil. Set them on the grill rack and cook, turning often, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the kernels are lightly charred.


3. Remove the corn from the grill and set it aside to cool. Set a cob on a cutting board and use a paring knife to cut off 2 to 3 rows of kernels. Turn the cob flat side down and remove 2 more rows.  Continue in this way until all the kernels are removed from all the cobs.


4. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the butter and cook the onion over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring often, until the onion softens.


5. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.


6. Pour in 1 cup of the milk gradually, still stirring constantly, then continue adding milk a little at a time until it is all added and the mixture is slightly thickened and smooth.


7. Transfer the corn to the pot with the stock or water, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme.


8. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is bubbling at the edges. Cover with a lid and cook over the lowest possible heat (a flame tamer is ideal here) for 5 minutes or until the chowder has absorbed the smoky flavor from the corn. Take care that the milk does not bubble up to the top of the pan. The liquid may form a "cap" of milk while cooking, but when you stir the chowder, it will disappear.


9. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper, if you like, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme.


     Serves 6.