Artichoke Soup with Poached Oysters
Artichoke and oyster soup is a New Orleans favorite, and just about everyone and his or her mother has a favorite recipe for it. Pureeing the soup also gives it a silky texture, and since the oysters are added at the very last minute, they are gently poached to perfection.
- 1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh
- tarragon leaves
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 50 small raw oysters (about 1 pint), picked over carefully for shell
- pieces, oyster liquor reserved
- 2 cups clam juice, or as needed
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 leeks, white part only, minced
- 2 celery stalks, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Four 14.5-ounce cans quartered artichoke hearts,
- drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves
- 1 tablespoon chive blossoms, if available, or snipped chives, for garnish
1. In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone, parsley,
sliced chives, tarragon, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Strain the oysters over a fine- mesh sieve and reserve
the oysters and strained liquor separately. Add enough of the clam juice to bring the oyster liquor up
to 2 cups.
3. Heat the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium
heat. Add the shallots, leeks, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until thickened and bubbly, about 30 seconds. Add the
artichoke hearts, stock, cream, oyster liquor/clam juice mixture, salt, and cayenne and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the soup from the heat and puree in batches in a blender. (Note: use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Strain the soup through a fine- mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the soup to a clean pot. Warm the soup gently over low heat until it returns to a simmer.
4. Add the oysters to the soup and return the soup to a simmer, cooking until the edges of the oysters curl and they are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1⁄4 cup of the mascarpone mixture. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup immediately, each bowl garnished with a dollop of the remaining mascarpone mixture, chervil leaves, and chive blossoms.
Yield: about 3 quarts, 6 to 8 servings