Oyster Stew with Chipotle Butter
From the Hog Island Oyster Lover's Cookbook, by Jairemarie Pomo
This is one of the best oyster stews I have ever tasted. It's also the easiest oyster stew I've ever made. The oyster liquor is what sets this stew apart from many recipes I've tried. The simple ingredients come together in a creamy, utterly satisfying dish.
| Serves 4 as a first course |
4 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Chipotle Butter: Put the chilies in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them, to cover. Let soak for 20 minutes to soften. Drain and dry the chilies with a paper towel.
In a food processor, combine the chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the puree to the softened butter and mix until well incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the contents of the bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Twist the ends of the plastic to seal, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups half-and-half
2 dozen small or extra small Hog Island Sweetwater (Pacific) oysters, shucked and liquor reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Oyster Stew: In a large saucepan, combine the cream, half-and-half, and 1/3 cup of the reserved oyster liquor. Cook over medium heat until the mixture just begins to boil, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the oysters. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the stew into 4 warmed soup bowls, dividing the oysters evenly. Remove the plastic wrap from the butter. Run a sharp knife under a hot tap and slice four ¼ inch rounds of butter. Top each bowl with a slice of butter. Swirl gently to distribute melting butter. Garnish with a fresh sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately.