Shrimp and Corn Chowder with Garlic Croutons
- Twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices Italian or French bread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, 1 halved and 1 minced
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 2 slices bacon, finely diced
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 2 large scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups bottled clam juice (12 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)
- 1. Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the bread with the olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil the bread slices about 10 inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, until golden on both sides. Rub the croutons with the halved garlic clove.
- 2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, corn, scallions and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the corn is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- 3. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, until everything is coated. Add the clam juice, water and heavy cream and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and simmer until just pink and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vermouth.
- 4. Put the croutons in deep bowls, spoon the shrimp and corn chowder on top and serve.
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