Be sure to get fresh, quality oysters, and make sure they are cleaned before starting to make this stew. Try not to tear up the meat if you are shucking them yourself.
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— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
By the Bay Oyster Stew
4 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4-teaspoon hot sauce
1/4-teaspoon celery salt
2 1/2 dozen medium oysters, shucked, liquor reserved
3 1/2 cups clam juice or fish stock
1 cup sherry or dry white wine
2 cups half and half
Freshly ground pepper
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter over moderate heat. Add the celery and shallots and cook until softened but not browned for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce, celery salt, oysters with their liquor, clam juice, sherry and half-and-half.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot, but do not let boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper to taste. Serve at once.