This oyster stew can be transformed from a comforting one-pot meal to an elegant dish for guests when you top it with Caviar Toasts: Dollop toasted slices of baguette with 1 teaspoon sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon caviar and a sprinkle of herbs. Place each toast atop a steaming bowl of stew. Serve with a salad of butter lettuce, orange segments and red onion tossed with vinaigrette.
- 3 slices bacon
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 cups diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 8-ounce bottles clam juice, (see Notes)
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- 1 pound baby or new potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 pound shucked oysters, (see Notes), drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill and chives
- Step 1
- Cook bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat, turning often, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. When cool, chop the bacon and set aside.
- Step 2
- Wipe out the pot; add oil heat over medium heat. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour in wine, increase heat to medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine is evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add clam juice, 1 cup water and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Step 3
- Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup water with flour until smooth and stir into the stew. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute.
- Step 4
- Stir in oysters, cream and herbs; return to a simmer and immediately remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to finish cooking the oysters. Serve sprinkled with the reserved bacon.
Notes: Bottled clam juice can be very high in sodium. We like Bar Harbor brand, which has 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving. Look for it in the canned-fish section or the seafood department of your supermarket.
Look for shucked oysters by the pound at the seafood counter or packed in plastic containers in the seafood department of most supermarkets. If your oysters are prepacked, be sure to look at the drained weight on the label—we needed to buy three 8-ounce containers to get 1 pound of drained shucked oysters.
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