With so much interest in the wines of the Pacific Northwest, it’s a bit surprising that the local cuisine hasn’t spread across the land. OK, it may be a bit much to ask for, since they are so blessed with such a rich bounty from the sea. And I’m guessing that, much like with their finest wines, much of their finest seafood stays right where it’s caught. Now I’m jealous. I wish I could just hop on a plane and jet out to Seattle for oysters and crab, but since that’s not in the cards, at least tonight it appears not to be, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.
While the Northwest Table focuses on all of Kathy’s exciting creations -- I loved her Chili & Lime Slow Cooked Pork with Warm Tortillas and Zucchini Fritter Cakes with Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce -- I’m particularly partial to her versions of the seafood classics that are near and dear to my heart.
Meet Chef Kathy CaseyKathy Casey is a celebrity chef, mixologist, TV and radio personality, and author of nine cookbooks. As one of the first female executive chefs in the United States, Kathy was featured as one of Food and Wine’s hot new American chefs. Kathy founded Kathy Casey Food Studios and Liquid Kitchen, a food and beverage consulting firm and research and development facility. She is also owner of Dish D’Lish cafes and specialty food line. For more, visit www.kathycasey.com.
Buy Kathy Casey's Northwest Table: Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Southern Alaska
In the Northwest, oyster stew is a Christmas Eve supper tradition. Still rich, but lighter than the traditional stew made with heavy cream, this version has lots of goodies.
Click here to download the full recipe as a PDF. Makes 6 cups, or 4 entrée servings
One 16-ounce jar or 2 cups freshly shucked extra-small oysters with their liquor
1/2 to 3/4 cup clam juice or chicken stock2 slices raw bacon, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 cup domestic or wild mushrooms such as button mushrooms or chanterelles, thinly sliced (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrot
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup cooked large-diced or quartered red potatoes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor. Set the oysters aside. Measure the liquor and add clam juice to make 3/4 cup total. Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon for about 3 minutes, or until half cooked. Add the onion, mushrooms, celery, carrot, and bell pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the vegetable mixture for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the sherry and thyme, then add the reserved oyster liquor, the Tabasco, and potatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a low boil.
Whisk the cornstarch into the half-and-half in a bowl, then whisk the mixture into the gently boiling stew. Immediately add the oysters and heat just until the oysters plump and their edges are ruffled. Season with the salt and pepper, adjusting for taste.
Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.