4 ears of corn, with husks removed
Pinch of salt
12 whole black peppercorns
Any variety of aromatics (bay leaf, dried or fresh thyme, parsley, oregano)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly (1 fennel frond for each person)
1 pound clams and/or mussels
This is a great light summer soup. The fennel fronds (the flowery buds at the top) add both a milder fennel taste and a beautiful green-yellow garnish on top.
Place the corn in a deep pot large enough to fit the cobs. Fill 6 cups of water or until all of the corn is fully submerged. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 9-12 minutes. Once the kernels feel softer to the touch (and can be pinched with a fingernail) remove the corn from the water, but keep the pot of water.
Hold the corn cobs upright over a large bowl and with a sharp knife, slide the knife down along the corn, letting the kernels fall into the bowl.
Place the corn cobs back into the water with another pinch of salt, black peppercorns, bay leaf and any other aromatics and simmer for another 10-12 minutes, or until the broth becomes aromatic.
Once the broth is ready, turn the heat up until it is boiling. Dump all of the clams and mussels into the pot and toss in the butter with a quick stir. (Don’t worry about fully incorporating.) Cover for 3 minutes, or until all of the clams or mussels have opened. Once they have, remove from the heat immediately to avoid over-cooking.
Serve immediately. To serve, place broth and a heap of clams and/or mussels in the bowl, add corn kernels and fennel bulb and garnish with the fennel frond.