Summer Corn Chowder with Dungeness Crab and Black Garlic

This Thursday (June 7) at the Chef’s Market in downtown Napa, Jordan Mackey, executive chef of Cuvée, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. to prepare his Summer Corn Chowder with Dungeness Crab and Black Garlic. And for dessert? Immediately following Chef Mackey, Sally Pereira, Cuvée’s pastry chef, will demonstrate her techniques for preparing a cobbler of summer fruit with a biscuit topping. You can watch the demos live here.

Dill pollen is not the most common ingredient (fennel pollen seems to get all the attention), but it adds an intensity and concentrated dill flavor you just won’t get from the ground dill you may be used to. You can actually collect fresh dill pollen yourself this time of year by drying the flowers for a few days and then shaking the pollen free. Or you can order some from Lemon Cove, Calif.-based Pollen Ranch.

The biggest and sweetest dungeness crabs are generally brought in during the winter months, but Chef Mackey’s chowder is an ideal way to enjoy late season crabs and summer’s fresh corn. There are just a few more weeks left in this year’s dungeness crab season, so dig in soon, because come July those tanks at the market will be empty until November.

Summer Corn Chowder with Dungeness Crab and Black Garlic

Serves 8 (with leftovers)
Total time: 1 hr 25 min


1 lb. high-quality, preferably thick-cut, bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks butter
6 ribs celery
2 large russet potatoes, diced
5 8 oz bottles clam juice
1 1/2 cups flour
4 ears of yellow corn, grated
3 ears of yellow corn, cut from cob
1 lb. pulled dungeness crab meat
4 cups cream
1/4 cup chopped thyme
3 lemons, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bulb of black garlic, for garnish
1 tablespoon dill pollen, for garnish

Place the chopped bacon and butter a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat until bacon begins to crisp.

Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until vegetables are softened and fragrant, but not browned. Add enough flour to absorb all butter and bacon fat, then cook a few moments until flour is well incorporated. Add the clam juice and mix well until mixture is smooth and thick. Add a little water if necessary to thin and then add the potatoes. Add grated corn and mix in well.

Simmer over low to medium-low heat until potatoes are almost fork tender then add corn kernels and crab. Add the cream, thyme and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Garnish each serving with a sprinkling og dill pollen and very thin slices of black garlic.

If you have a question for Chef Mackey about the recipe tweet it to @napadowntown using the hashtag #chefsmarket