Seizing the Flavors of the Season

CORN CHOWDERThis soup allows the true corn flavor to come through. It is simple and very fast to prepare. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 cups chopped onions 4 cups chicken stock 1 cup yellow cornmeal Salt to taste Freshly ground white pepper to taste 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 4 cups sweet corn cut from the cob 1/2 cup snipped fresh chives

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until tender, about 1/2 hour. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Puree the soup in the blender in batches and strain through a fine sieve. Return to the saucepan over medium-high heat, adjust the salt and pepper, then add the lemon juice and fresh corn and cook until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish with the chives. Serves 8.

WILLY'S SALAD This salad was named after the best garlic peeler ever. He made this dressing possible with the volume of garlic needed.

1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup Toasted Croutons (recipe follows) 1 cup Willy's Dressing (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, croutons, and dressing. Toss, then add the Parmesan, tossing just to combine. Distribute on plates. Serves four.

TOASTED CROUTONS 1 loaf French bread, sliced 1/4-inch thick 1/4 cup virgin olive oil Rub the surfaces of the sliced bread with the olive oil. Place in a preheated 350 degree F. oven and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.

WILLY'S DRESSING 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons anchovy fillets minced into paste 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 2 large egg yolks 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 3/4 cup corn oil 3/4 cup virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper Tabasco sauce to taste

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the garlic, anchovies, vinegar, lemon juice, egg yolks, and mustard with a mixer set on medium speed. On high speed, add the oils, one at a time, in a steady stream until thickened. Add the Worcestershire and season with the salt, black pepper, and Tabasco. Refrigerate overnight to develop flavor or hold up to 5 days. Makes 2 cups. Note: Choose tender anchovies rather than the firm, canned fishy ones from dusty shelves. It makes a big difference.

SOFT-SHELL CRABS WITH CAPERS AND LEMON The simplest and the best. 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice Salt to taste Tabasco sauce to taste 3/4 cup nonpareil capers, drained 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper 12 medium-size soft-shell crabs, cleaned (see note) 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

With a mixer, whip 1 stick of the butter until light. Slowly add the lemon juice, then season with salt and Tabasco. Add the capers and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Dredge the crabs in the flour, coating evenly, then shake off the excess. In a large skillet, heat the remaining butter over medium-high heat until brown. Carefully add the crabs and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook until the other side is golden, about 2 minutes. Remove to paper toweling to drain. Arrange the soft-shells on warm serving plates. Spoon on the caper butter, allowing to melt over the crabs. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve. Serves four. Cooking notes: Clean the crabs by pulling the key (lower belly flap) and opening the body shell. Remove the lungs and guts, then replace the body shell. Snip off the face, if you choose. Keep well refrigerated until ready to use.

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