Oyster and Artichoke Soup
Purists insist this soup tastes best after being refrigerated for several hours and gently reheated.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4
3 tablespoons butter
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh or frozen artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken or seafood broth
1 teaspoon Tabasco
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pint oysters
¼ cup sherry
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add green onions, celery, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chopped artichoke hearts; continue to cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables; stir to coat. Slowly add broth to vegetables; stir until flour has dissolved. Add Tabasco, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover pot; cook 1 hour and 15 minutes, adding more liquid if needed.
Drain oysters; reserve liquid. Chop oysters; add to soup. Stir in oyster liquid and sherry; simmer uncovered 10 minutes, never allowing mixture to boil.
Stir in heavy cream, parsley, salt, and pepper; remove from heat. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate for later.
Heaven on the Half Shell
Oysters are filter feeders, and their flavor and wholesomeness reflects the quality of the waters where they spend their lives. Many cooks insist on North American-produced oysters — particularly when serving raw oysters — because the industry is strictly regulated in the United States and Canada. Even so, vibrio vulnificus bacteria can live in the raw tissues, which is why unprocessed, raw oysters are ill advised for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.