California Oyster Stew – With Bacon, Shiitake & Spinach


California Oyster Stew – With Bacon, Shiitake & Spinach

This is a wonderful rich-tasting Oyster Stew; and surprisingly easy to make (whenever you have access to fresh, plump oysters).  It is based on a favorite from California — So I prefer West Coast oysters for this dish, and plenty of fresh, rustic bread for dipping in the broth.

You can certainly add chunks of fresh Salmon for a truly decadent soup.

Ingredients / Prep:

1 lb. fresh Oysters — Shucked, rinsed
1/2 lb. fresh Salmon (optional) — Skinned, cut into chunks
1 bunch fresh Spinach — Washed, torn
1 Leek — Sliced into discs
3 slices smokey Bacon — Cut up
Shiitake Mushrooms — Sliced in thirds
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 bottle Clam Juice
1 cup White Wine
1/2 cup heavy Cream
Fresh Thyme, Fresh Lemon Juice

Instructions / Assembly:

Rinse and prep both Oysters (and Salmon) and Spinach if necessary — Set aside (somewhat chilled).

In heavy saute pan, heat a bit of Olive Oil with Butter; gently saute Leek for few minutes.  Transfer to large soup pot.  In same saute pan, gently saute the Bacon pieces till mostly cooked, but not crisp; add to large soup pot with Leek.  In same saute pan, gently saute sliced Shiitake (add squeeze of Lemon Juice, if desired); add to large soup pot.

To the Soup Pot, add the  liquid — Chicken Broth, Clam Juice, White Wine.  Once simmering, mix in the heavy Cream and bit of fresh Thyme.  Allow to gently simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

For final ingredients — Add Oysters, return to simmer; add Salmon (if desired) and allow to simmer about 5 minutes.  Finally, add Spinach pieces — Mix gently simmering another 5 minutes.

Serve in large bowls with a squeeze of Lemon Juice and plenty of Bread Slices.