Oyster and Spinach Chowder

By inpatskitchen
September 25, 2012
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Author Notes: This is a riff on a spinach and oyster soup that my dad used to make for himself on Friday night after a 12-hour day at our market. He'd always bring in any leftovers for my brother and me to share the next day. I added potatoes to make it a little heartier, and swapped baby spinach leaves for the regular spinach he would use.inpatskitchen

Food52 Review: This soup is elegant in simplicity (few ingredients, few steps) and extremely satisfying in flavor (whoa!). I never cook oysters given the option not to, but if I had to make a cooked-oyster dish I would make this again, without any changes. I used Bar Harbor brand clam juice and the final chowder didn’t need any additional seasoning. Pouring that much cream into the soup reminded me of my chef instructor in school, who would have most likely called it “gilding the lily.” But it’s delicious, so hey…Rebecca Vitale

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min

  • 2 1/2 dozen freshly-shucked oysters and their liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion or 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced potatoes (small dice) -- I used Yukon Gold
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, thick stems discarded
  • 1 pinch Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine the oyster liquor, clam juice, and water. Set aside.
  2. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion or leek in the butter and olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the reserved broth and potatoes to the pot. Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cream, bring back up to a simmer, and stir in the spinach. Cook until the spinach just barely wilts, then add the oysters and any accumulated juices. Bring back up to a simmer again and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the oysters are just done. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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