By CINDA CHAVICH
Cinda Chavich photo
I created this recipe to use the pre-shucked local BC oysters you can find in jars or tubs at the seafood shop. The pureed base of potatoes, oyster mushrooms and spinach thickens the chowder — no need for a lot of cream and extra calories. Oyster stew is traditional at Christmastime, and with slivers of brilliant green spinach and red bell pepper it’s particularly festive.
INGREDIENTS: 1 bunch spinach, divided 1 large onion, minced 6 medium oyster mushrooms, minced 1 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped 2 cups stock (use fish or clam broth) ½ cup heavy cream 2 cups 2% milk 1 pint shucked oysters, halved if large, liquor reserved Salt and freshly ground black pepper Slivered roasted red peppers and sweet Hungarian paprika to garnish METHOD: Wash the spinach well in a large sink of water and squeeze dry. Discard the stems, roll the leaves and cut into chiffonade. Set aside half of the chiffonade – mince the rest of the spinach. Mince the onion and mushrooms in the food processor (separately) to save time. Heat the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, potatoes and half of the spinach and cook together, stirring, for 5 minutes longer. Add the stock and reserved oyster liquor, cover, bring to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add the cream and simmer 2 minutes longer, then puree using an immersion blender. When the mixture is very smooth, add the milk and reheat, just to a simmer. Stir in the oysters (whole or cut into 2-inch pieces if very large). Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, just until the oysters have plumped and curled around the edges. Stir in the remaining spinach and stir 30 seconds, until spinach turns brilliant green. Do not overcook. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into wide soup bowls. Top each with a tablespoon of slivered roasted red peppers and sprinkle with sweet paprika to garnish the plate. Serves 6.
©Cinda Chavich 2018