Friday, July 4, 2008

Oyster Stew and the Fourth of July Garden



The Fourth of July holiday brought oyster madness to my house. Sister-in-law Diane bid high on a 5 gallon bucket of fresh picked oysters, delivered, at a fund raising auction. On July 3rd all at the table gorged out on grilled oysters.

Here is how we cooked them:
The gas grill on high, place the oysters oyster down, if you can figure that out...actually doesn't really matter because you can turn them while they cook. They are done when they bubble water, which means their tight shell has opened..takes around 5 minutes on a high grill and they get HOT so grab them with a glove, get them on a platter and to the table! They open easily, with a little prying. We used a flat nosed screw driver. Don't have a gas grill ? Any heat will do...a fire, charcoal, lid up or down...look for the bubbles.

Diane prepared three dips ...

A cocktail sauce of ketchup, horse radish, lemon and Tabasco

A champagne vinegar, shallot, champagne blend

And a soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic sauce. I don't have exact recipes but the three made a nice variety as we worked our way through half the oysters.

July fifth and we were back around the table for the remaining mollusks in an oyster stew....a New Orleans speciality of Diane's. Delicious. Here's her recipe:


Celery
green onion
butter

cook together until soft.

Add 1 qt. milk
Tabasco
bay leaf
cook diced potatoes if you want hearty
bit of sherry

bring to simmer, add

oysters & juice

on serving, add crisp pancetta or bacon
and parsley

Here's another recipe for Oyster Stew by "Emeril". I have not tried it, yet.

Phil Harris' Oyster Stew

1/2 cup diced peeled boiling potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 pints freshly shucked oysters (drain their liquor and reserve)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup heavy cream
2 green onions or scallions, finely minced

In 3 cups of boiling water, cook the potatoes until firm-tender (al dente).Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the reserved oyster liquor and cook 30 seconds more. Add the parsley, garlic, potatoes, salt, white pepper, and 20 turns of the black-pepper mill, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the hot sauce and Worcestershire and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes.

Fold in the green onions and the oysters and cook just until the edges of the oysters start to curl, about 2 minutes. Stay with it to be sure the oysters don't overcook.

To serve, ladle 1-1/2 cups of the stew into each of 4 shallow soup bowls and top each with 2 turns black pepper.

Makes 6 cups, or 4 first-course servings.

From "Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking," by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch (William Morrow & Co., 354 pages, $25 hardcover)

THE GARDEN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

The salad in the picture, way back at the beginning of this blog, is made of greens from my garden. Everyone agreed - greens from the garden have gobs more flavor than anything you can buy anywhere.

My garden chard and kale, gone to seed; both planted from starts in early April.
The garlic is curling, yellow, over with seeds. The squash is slowly taking off.

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