A Graceful End to Summer, Spicy Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Bacon

17 Sep

The Queen West Art Crawl happened today, where local artists showcase their wares in Trinity Bellwoods park. It could not have been more perfect September afternoon in Toronto, sunny, clear, and 24°.

We chose to not only participate in an art crawl, but a self possessed food crawl as well. Because it is corn season, a buttery cob could not be passed up (and yes, the above vat of boiling goodness  is pure butter, or so they said)

Lemon pepper, salt, cayenne. Too many choices.

Food trucks are finally taking off in Toronto, but mostly only at sanctioned events. Despite being an amazing city for food, T.O severely lacks in any sort of  street eats other than burgers and hot dogs. New York puts us to shame (naturally), but I’ve recently discovered Vancouver does too (gasp!)

The blue truck is a cupcake truck. Not really my thing, but cute nonetheless!

We decided to try some tacos at Gourmet Bitches (or temruoG sehctiB, as the lettering on the truck states). It is a taco truck run by hot bitches in Van Halen tee-shirts. I dig the aesthetic.

Totally intrigued, we ordered the Bitchen’ Beef, described as Hibiscus vanilla bean beef (?!) with fresh tomato salsa and green onions.

$10 was a little steep, these were pretty tiny. The vanilla bean was present but subtle, and they had a nice heat. The hibiscus however, was lost on me.


We then walked West along Queen, heading up to the Polish Street Festival on Roncesvalles. Why not, right??  We  ate meatballs with fried peppers and onions and salmon cakes with tartar sauce. Both were delicious, but the salmon from De La Mer Fresh Fish Market was outstanding.

(P.s. the distance from the Art Crawl to the Polish Festival was significant enough to warrant multiple snacks)

There was also fresh corn roasting going on there, which inspired me for dinner- Can you say, Chow-dah??

‘ I picked up five fresh ears on the way home.

Spicy Corn Chowder with Shrimp

Freakin’ Delicious.

Recipe inspired by Bev Cooks

  • Bacon, 3 slices, cooked crispy and chopped
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
  • 3 cobs of fresh sweet corn
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp (ish) cayenne
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • course salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  1.  In large pot, boil corn on cob in salted water for approx 10 minutes and set aside
  2. In small pan, fry bacon. While bacon is frying, prep veggies, garlic and shrimp
  3. Remove bacon once crispy and set aside.  Fry shrimp in pan with bacon fat for about 4 minutes. Toss and cook another minute until shrimp are opaque (do not over cook), and set aside.
  4. Saute onions, red pepper and celery in same pan (if desired) until onions are well cooked. Add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cayenne and turn heat to medium low. Add small amount of water to pan if it starts to get too dry.
  5. Cut cooked corn from the cob to produce kernels, and saute with veggies and spices.
  6. In medium pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer.
  7. Add 1/3 of veggie and corn mixture from pan to the pot with stock and add sour cream. With hand held blender, emulsify until smooth (does not have to be perfect)
  8. Add shrimp, 2/3 of the bacon, and remainder of the corn and veggies. Add basil.
  9. Serve in bowls and garnish with dollop of sour cream, black pepper, more basil and bacon.

The bacon with paprika added smoky saltiness to the sweetness of the corn and shrimp, and the basil added freshness and depth.

Great flavours, pretty, and also, very filling.This eats like a meal!

A new favourite to be sure.


2 Responses to “A Graceful End to Summer, Spicy Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Bacon”

  1. Browsing the Atlas September 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Oh my gosh. This all looks so good! And I’m envious – we didn’t see a single food truck when we were in Toronto this summer. But I’m going back next year, so maybe we’ll get lucky.

  2. food,mostly September 28, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I hope you do! The demand is definitely there, but red tape and outdated bureaucratic none sense has slowed down the food truck trend here.

    I once heard somewhere that our hot dog carts were run by the mafia.

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