Thursday, 10 November 2011

Oyster, Brie and Champagne Soup

This is a  little gem of a restaurant, hidden amongst the back streets of Amsterdam that I came across this week. It's a barbecue restaurant that has won international recognition for its excellent atmosphere. It is this atmosphere with (famous) guests enjoying a glass of good wine or a carefully prepared cocktail which gives you the feeling of being "out" but "at home" too. The scent of charcoal and spices will perhaps persuade you to select a fine steak, award winning oysters or an appetizing lobster tale from te menu. The wonderful but delicate flavour of their famous oysters, inspired me to create this soup

A favorite among exotic foods, oysters are large shellfish loaded with many health benefits. They have rough, fluted shells that are soft and fleshy in texture, influenced by the water they come from. Sweet and sometimes salty, oysters have a unique dusky flavor. Oysters can be consumed in variety of ways such as half shelled, raw, smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed and grilled. They are rich in various vitamins and minerals and hence, benefit the young and old.

On my childhood visits to Ireland, I lived off oysters, freshly caught by my Irish, fishing family. As I grew up I was introduced to the black stuff - Guinness- which accompanied the oysters a treat. Now it's that time of year when we all like a winter warmer - soup -  this recipe is an unusual blend and fusion of flavours that bring back all those magical, memories of the Emerald Isle

Serves 6-8

1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1/2 Cup flour
1 pint of  fish stock 
i tub of whipping cream
1 1/2 Teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 lbs. Brie cheese (remove rind and cut into cubes)
2 Cups dry champagne
3 Dozen fresh oysters
1 bunch spring onions (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook 3 minutes constantly whisking. Add stock and cook and whisk until flour is absorbed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Bring to boil, return to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream, simmer 5 minutes, again whisking constantly. Add paprika and cheese. Cook and stir until melted. Add Champagne, oysters, green onions. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, stir and serve.