Last week, “How 2.0” savored San Francisco’s Ciopino. At the risk of inciting a nasty East Coast/West Coast seafood stew rivalry, this week we’re going to swap coasts and check out New York City’s “Oyster Pan Roast”.
You don’t usually link nice meals and mass transit hubs, but the Grand Central Oyster Bar has been serving fantastic seafood since 1913. They may not have invented the Oyster Pan Roast (legend has it being created in a Coney Island hotel), but they certainly made it famous.
Oyster Pan Roast is essentially an oyster stew. Oyster stews tend to be richly seasoned cream-based soups. Cream and salt compliment the rich nutty flavor of cooked oysters. Perfect for fall, especially in New Orleans and other parts of the south, osyter stew is a traditional first course for Thanksgiving.
Take a seat at the Grand Central Oyster Bar and the chefs will prepare the dish in front of you. Butter, chili sauce, Worcestershire, lemon, oyster liquor, seasoning and finally cream are whisked together in a double boiler with freshest oysters, then poured over a piece of toast.
Fall days tend to be nicer in Dallas than New York, so save yourself the trip and make this stew at home.
Oyster Pan Roast
8 shucked oysters (fresh shucked or pasturized)
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) of sweet butter
1 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup oyster liquor, also called liquid (the juice inside the oyster, preshucked pasturized will include liquor)
1/2 tsp paprika
dash celery salt
1 oz of claim juice
1/2 cup cream
1 slice of dry toast (I used peasant bread)
Place all ingredients except cream, toast and 1 Tbsp of butter in the top part of a double broiler over boiling water. Do not let the top pan of the double broiler touch the water below. Whisk or stir briskly and constantly for about 1 minute until oyster edges begin to curl, stirring carefully as to not damage the oysters. Add cream and continue stirring briskly, Do not boil. Pour pan roast into a soup plate over the slice of dry toast. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp butter, and sprinkle with paprika, then serve right away.
Cooked oysters have none of the health risks of consuming raw oysters. However, oysters are filter feeders and are the most susceptible species to contamination from the Gulf oil spill. With those health risks in mind and prices skyrocketing, here are some other seafood options for this stew: 8 raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, with tails off, 8 littleneck clams, 4 ounces of lobster meat, 4 U10 dry sea scallops, 14-16 mussels.
Change your life: eat more fish!
Jon Alexis is the co-owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Catering, 11661 Preston Road, Dallas.