French Oyster Chowder
1 quart oysters, shucked – reserve the liquor
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large size leeks, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped ( use some of the green )
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
6 c. cold water
1/4 tsp salt
fresh pepper to taste
1/4 c. oil ~ peanut, corn or vegetable
3 c. bread, use white bread ~ no crusts, and cut into about 1/4" cubes
1 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 pound grated cheese that melts easily, such as Jarlsburg, Emmentaler or Gruyere
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
Make the chowder base:
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks. Cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the potatoes, water, salt and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat when done and cool for about 10 minutes. Puree this mixture until smooth. (You can use an immersion blender, a food processor, a blender, etc.)
Make the croutons:
Heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of butter in a heavy frying pan over medium to medium high heat. Saute the bread crumbs in this. Toss and stir these until they just turn golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Finish the chowder:
Put the chowder puree' into a deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cream and nutmeg. Add the oysters and their liquor. Cook until the oysters curl and then remove the pan from the heat.
Serve it up:
Spoon chowder into low individual soup bowls. Top with croutons, grated cheese and parsley.
Recipe adapted from The Seafood Cookbook by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller