10.16.2008

The Local Food Report: Wellfleet oyster stew

I remember what last year's OysterFest brought to my breakfast. It was nine a.m.; I was downtown refusing coffee, muffins, and beer. Instead, clutched between my well-chilled palms I held a bowl of oyster stew.

The stew was everything a good cold weather breakfast should be: rich, warm, and filling. To be sure it was savory rather than oatmeal sweet, but it lasted me on foot long through the day.

Photo courtesy Sarah Reynolds


I remembered my breakfast last week, hungry for a fall-time dinner and hankering for soup. I pulled together milk and cream, seasonings and spices, and a good bowl of oysters with liquor. The stove flamed hot, and I sauteed onions and celery, salt and pepper, and thickened butter and flour into a hearty roux. In went milk and cream, a dash of sherry, and finally a heaping quart of fresh shucked oysters. As their rippled edges shrunk to lace, I took a bite, and the memories came flooding back.

OYSTER STEW

(adapted from Mrs. Louis T. Parker's recipe in Charleston Receipts, put together by the women of the Junior League of Charleston, S.C.)

Serves 4-6

Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup diced celery and 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, and cook until tender. Shake in 3 tablespoons flour, stirring constantly. Pour in 1 quart whole milk, little by little, stirring all the while. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 blade mace and cook until boiling point is reached. Add 1 pint oysters with liquor and a dash of sherry if desired. Serve as soon as oysters are thoroughly hot and plump.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

elspeth; On a chilly night there is nothing better than good oyster stew.Charleston Receipts has to be the best of all. eat a lot for me .hugs,biee

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