For the corn stock: Combine the ears of corn, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf in a large stock pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the ears of corn. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours.
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, discarding the solids. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook until it is reduced by half. If not using immediately, cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
For the eel: In a medium pot combine the salt, thyme, bay leafs, eel and lemon juice. Cover with enough cold water just to submerge the eel, about 4 cups. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pull the pieces of eel out using a slotted spoon. Reserve the eel and discard the liquid.
For the chowder: Place the butter and oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions to the pot and cook until just tender but not caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and corn kernels to the pot and continue cooking until the corn turns bright yellow, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and cream to the pot and bring the liquid to a bubble. Simmer the chowder, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the reserved eel to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Simmer to heat the eel through, about 10 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the chowder in warm bowls and garnish with the herbs.
If you're short on time, you can substitute the corn stock with store-bought vegetable stock.
A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Ed O'Neill