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Oyster Soup

Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 26 to 30 small raw shucked oysters, with their liquor
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives


Procedures:

We have the best oysters here in the Northwest and locals use them in a wide variety of recipes, with fried oysters and barbecue-grilled oysters among the favorites. I was not a big fan of oysters in soup, however, until one of Seattle’s best-known chefs, Tom Douglas (owner of Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood, and other popular restaurants), made some for my birthday dinner. I’ve been a fan ever since, and even came up with my own recipe based on Tom’s inspiration: a flavorful, creamy steaming hot broth that you slip oysters into just a few minutes before serving.
For this easy soup, you can use either oysters freshly shucked from the shells or jarred oysters (two 10-ounce jars of “extra small” oysters will do the trick).
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and onion and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and aromatic. Stir in the potato, celery, and parsley and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the water and white wine and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potato is tender.


  2. Stir in the cream and clam juice and cook gently for 1 to 2 minutes to blend the flavors; be sure the mixture doesn't boil. Stir in the lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind that the oysters will add salty flavor).


  3. Add the oysters and their liquor to the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the oysters are just firm. Ladle the soup into individual shallow bowls, distributing the oysters evenly. Sprinkle with chives and serve at once.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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