NEW ENGLAND–STYLE DELACROIX ISLAND OYSTER CHOWDER

Ingredients Weight Measure
Oysters, large, shucked 60 ea.
TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce 4 tsp. + 10 dashes
Oysters, large (Delacroix Island variety if available), unshucked 3 doz.
Water 3 qts.
Bacon, applewood smoked, cut into 1/4" strips, blanched for 3 minutes 1/2 lb.
Butter 8 Tbsp.
Yellow onions, medium, diced 8 ea. (approx. 16 cups)
Garlic, chopped 1/2 cup
All-purpose flour 3/4 cup
Celery, medium diced 3 cups
Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, medium diced 2-1/2 lbs.
Heavy cream 1 qt.
Kosher salt 3 Tbsp.
Parsley, rinsed and chopped 1/2 cup
Chives, chopped 1/4 lb.
Tomatoes, medium, medium diced 2 ea.

Bouquet Garni

Ingredients Weight Measure
Bay Leaf 1 ea.
Parsley I bunch
Thyme 5 springs

Flour Mixture

Ingredients Weight Measure
All-purpose flour 1 lb.
Corn Startch 6 Tbsp.
Table Salt Tbsp.
White pepper, fine ground Tbsp.
Oil, for frying 1 qt.

Method

  1. Place 3 shucked oysters for every bowl of soup to be served and in a non-reactive metal bowl. Add 10 dashes TABASCO® Sauce to the bowl of raw oysters; cover and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Combine Bouquet Garni ingredients.
  3. Scrub the whole oysters and put them into an 8-qt. pot with the water and Bouquet Garni. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer to steam open the oysters. When the oysters have all opened (after about 15-20 minutes), take them out with a slotted spoon and strain the cooking liquid through a triple layer of cheesecloth or a cloth napkin (rinsed first to eliminate bleach or chemicals). Take the oysters out of their shells and quarter them. Keep the oyster pieces covered with plastic wrap in a bowl until needed.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed 8-qt. pot, cook the blanched bacon for 10 minutes or until the fat has been completely rendered. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and discard. Turn down the heat, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon every few minurtes to make sure they do not brown. When the onion-garlic mixture softens and turns translucent, add the flour and stir. After 2 minutes, add the celery, potatoes and oyster cooking liquid. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked, stirring regularly to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Add the cream, cooked oysters and salt. Bring to a simmer. Add the parsley, chives, 4 tsp. TABASCO® Sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir well. Remove from heat.
  5. To prepare Flour Mixture, mix the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, table salt and white pepper in a separate bowl. In a large frying pan, heat the oil to 350 °F. Remove the raw oysters from the TABASCO® marinade and dust them lightly with the flour mixture. Fry several at a time until golden. Remove onto paper towel to drain.
  6. Serve the chowder in deep bowls each garnished with 3 fried oysters.

Yield: 5 quarts, 20 8-oz. servings