In the short story ‘007 in New York’, James Bond considers oyster stew, as served at the famous Oyster Bar of Grand Central Station, to be the best meal in New York. Having visited the restaurant and sampled its signature dish, I wouldn’t disagree.
My own recipe for oyster stew appears in my cookbook, Licence to Cook. That version uses smoked oysters, but if you prefer to use live oysters, then look no further. The recipe, slightly different from the recipe in the cookbook, is presented below.
- Generous knob of butter for frying
- 1 medium stick of celery, finely sliced
- 1 medium onion (or 2-3 shallots), peeled and finely chopped
- 150ml milk (semi-skimmed is fine)
- 150ml double cream
- A dozen fresh oysters
- Pinch black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2-3 splashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
Shuck the oysters and remove the the meat from the shell, placing the meat, along with the liquor, into a bowl.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Pour in the milk and cream and bring to the boil. Pour in the oysters and the liquor and add the paprika, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, then bring the stew to the boil. Allow the stew to boil for half a minute or so, then serve.
Ladle the stew into bowls, and sprinkle the parsley over the top. If available, accompany with oyster crackers and a Miller High Life beer.