Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Oyster Liquor Is Like Bacon

Continuing with the Mark Kurlansky inspired fetish...

The cold & the fog, as well as the discussions of turn of the century New York oyster culture, gave me a craving for oyster stew. The experience of making oyster stew this evening became a lesson in how even if you screw up a recipe, oyster liquor (the flavorful juices that surround oysters in their shell and in packaging) will still make it really tasty.

I followed a recipe that broke down like this.

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of celery
3 tablespoons of shallots
1 quart of half & half
2 12 oz jars of oysters
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

To avoid excessive calories I replaced the half & half with whole milk.

Big mistake. The milk curdled. The stew ended up looking kind of nasty, as you can see below;

From Storehouse

Even though it looked nasty, the taste was spot on. The oysters and oyster liquor gave the stew a wonderful salty briny flavor. Combined with the butter, shallots, and celery, it all came together into a rich and satisfying broth.

If I do this recipe again I might not bother with any of the dairy products, just use a clear broth and good quality root vegetables and herbs.

This gets back to the point of the post, oyster liquor is like bacon. Whatever you mix it with, it comes out great.

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