Saturday, March 24, 2012

it's really oyster soup

When the craving hits, you've just gotta have some.  I'm talking Oyster Stew...

My mom and I shared a love for it and although she stuck with the ease and familiarity of the red-striped Campbell's can her entire life, I ventured away, experimenting, making pots more to my liking with fresh Gulf oysters. 

Mom and I agreed on some basics though; you have to have pats of butter and lots of salt and pepper.  Crackers too; cute little floating pillows or saltine squares which you break and drop in the bowl bite-by-bite so they don't get too soggy.

There were very few times either of us had Oyster Stew when we didn't call the other, just to say that the craving had struck and we'd devoured at least two bowls.

I wanted so badly to be able to call her today. 

Oyster Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 finely chopped shallot
1 stalk of celery, trimmed and chopped fine
1 cup chopped button or crimini mushrooms
salt and black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
7 cups milk
10 ounces fresh oysters, the liquor strained and reserved

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a stockpot. 
Add the shallot and the celery, cooking until they soften. 
Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt, black pepper,
and a dash of cayenne pepper. 
Cook over low heat for five or ten minutes.

Pour 7 cups of milk into the pot along with the oysters
and the strained liquor. 
Raise the heat until the soup is hot but do not boil. 
Reduce and cook the heck out of the oysters.*

Serve with butter, salt, black pepper,
extra dashes of cayenne pepper,
and crisp crackers.

Despite our love of this soup, neither of us ever ate the oysters! 
If you choose to, discard those which flavored the soup* and add fresh ones just before serving, cooking only until their edges curl. 

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