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Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
There are some who think that cooking oysters at all is an act of culinary sacrilege. And as much as I love a dozen (or two) on the half shell, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy a poached, fried or roasted oyster just as much. This stew is a close relative of the Manhattan-style clam chowder; it uses a tomato base and a good assortment of vegetables as well as fish stock. The oysters and their liquor are dropped in the stew at the moment you turn off the heat, to ensure that they don't get overcooked. The result is plump oysters and a satisfying bowl of stew.
For the best results I recommend shucking your own oysters. I know shucking two dozen oysters seems like a lot of prep for stew, but preshucked oysters often have an unpleasant coppery flavor. To be on the safe side it's best to shuck them yourself, unless you have a really great relationship with your fishmonger (in which case, you might get away with having them do the shucking for you).