“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’
Sweet Bay & Thyme Oyster Stew
Big fat plump shucked oysters from the seafood are available and with cooler weather I made a simple oyster stew and of course during prep process I had to taste one of the plump oysters pinches of salt and a tad lemon juice…yummy!
I didn’t go crazy with some ingredient laden “chowder” or stew recipe, rather simple ingredients on hand for a warming bowl of stew. I didn’t say it was a healthy version and a cup is enough for me.
2 medium leeks, white parts only, fine dice
½ cup fine diced onion
1/2 cup small diced celery
1 fat clove garlic minced
1 fresh bay leaf and a couple of sprigs of thyme (I used lemon thyme this time…teehee)
A few fresh chives rough chopped
8 tablespoons butter…wowza!
4 tablespoons flour
½ cup shrimp stock or clam broth (more to thin stew if necessary)
1+¾ cups milk
1 pint heavy cream or you can use part half and half or all half and half (have additional milk or half and half on hand to thin stew)
½ teaspoon Creole/Cajun seasoning
1+1/4 teaspoon Phillips seafood seasoning
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Dash of granulated garlic
½ teaspoon white pepper
2-3 sliced green onion (additional for garnish)
1 pint oysters, drained, but keep the liquor to add into the stew (strain in case there are any bits of shell)
Serve with oyster crackers and/or hot sauce and lemon juice
Over medium heat…Sweat the diced leeks, onions, celery, bay leaf and fresh thyme sprigs in all that butter until soft, add the minced garlic and whisk for 1 minute whisk in flour and whisk for a minute or two. Toss in the rest of the seasonings add the shrimp or clam broth and still whisking add the milk, cream and oyster liquor. Whisk constantly until thickened to your liking and thin if necessary. Can be made ahead to this point and gently reheated just before adding the oysters and serving with more garnishes and hot sauce Tabasco, Louisiana hot sauce or Tiger Sauce.