"A good basic recipe for oyster stew. Jars of fresh-shucked oysters are readily available in most fish markets.
3 tablespoons butter
3 large shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
1 bay leaf
Finely shredded peel of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) half-and-half (light cream)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
24 to 36 shucked oysters with liquor
2 tablespoons butter
Paprika for sprinkling
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven. Add shallots or onion and celery. Over medium heat, sauté until softened. Add bay leaf and lemon peel; sauté 1 minute longer. Add half-and-half, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Heat until very hot; do not boil.
- If oysters are large, cut in half. Add oysters and liquor to kettle. Cook about 3 minutes,stirring constantly, until edges of oysters start to curl and become firm. Do not overcook. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Divide oysters among 6 serving bowls. ladle in broth. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into 6 pats; float 1 pat in each bowl. Garnish with paprika.
Makes 6 servings.