Old-Style Oyster Stew
This is the oyster stew that was once common in the casual seafood restaurants, especially around West End. Like West End it self–which was totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina–this dish is little more than a memory. But it’s a very good memory, and one we can revive in our own kitchens. The element that makes the biggest difference is the oyster water, which you can get from your oyster dealer if you give a little advance notice.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 Tbs. chopped onion
- 1 Tbs. chopped celery
- 1 quart oyster water, strained well
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp. dried
- 3 dozen oysters
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Salt to taste
1. In a saucepan, heat the butter and sauté the onions and celery until tender.
2. Add oyster water, half-and-half, and peppercorns. Bring to a very light simmer and cook slowly for fifteen minutes.
3. Add oysters and green onions, and cook for another three to five minutes, until the oysters are plumped up and the edges are curly. Add salt to taste (you may not need any, depending on the saltiness of the oysters and oyster water).