Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oyster Chowder

Oysters were super-cheap the day after Thanksgiving, so I bought a jar to make soup during my vacation.  Just two servings, since most of my lunches are being taken elsewhere.  I was at Olvera Street yesterday at lunchtime.  Somewhere under all that avocado sauce was a tamale and two taquitos. I got lucky that there was very little spice, but I was so hungry after walking halfway across downtown that I would have eaten it anyway and dealt with the asthma for the rest of the day.
My original plan had been to eat at the Grand Central Market.  When I got there, I was disappointed that it was basically an elaborate food court with very long lines.  The one grocer had nice, inexpensive produce.  I wished I needed some.  For that kind of atmosphere and inflated prices, I'd rather go to the Original Farmers' Market.
And my mountain trip was nice until I slipped twice on an icy hiking trail and got pretty bruised up.  I'm staying active so the muscles don't cramp, hence my two-mile walk from 5th Street through Chinatown and down to Olvera.
I did get good photos of the grape vines across the plaza that are almost as old as the city itself.  Oh, and coming down the mountain from my out-of-the-way, avoiding soft targets day trip, I had to pass a dozen police cars racing to the San Bernardino shooting location.  At this point, I'm just going to do what I want and hope for the best.

Where was I?  Oh right, soup.

1 large (1/2 lb) red potato
1/2 C diced onion
1 8oz jar oysters
1 C milk
1 Tb butter
1 Tb flour
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
*1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1.  Dice potato, skin on if desired, into 1/2" pieces.  In a medium saucepan, simmer potato in water until fork-tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and leave the pieces in the colander for a bit.

2.  Melt butter in the saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and sautée until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add flour to the pan and stir until it soaks up the butter and gets pasty.

3.  Add 1/2 C milk and stir in.  Once it heats, it should thicken into a creamy consistency.  Add the rest of the milk and allow it to thicken as well.

4.  Add drained potatoes, oysters with their water, and spices.  Stir soup and allow it to come up to a simmer.  If it is too thick for your taste, add a bit of water.  Once the oysters are cooked, they are easier to break up into smaller pieces with a spoon.  That's why I didn't have you go through the drama of trying to cut them raw.  It's not as easy as it ought to be.

5.  Serve hot with a side of crackers or bread.

Serves 2

Difficulty rating  π

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