Charleston Oyster and Shrimp Pan Roast
After several days on the water in and around Charleston, I became convinced that the local shellfish is without peer in our country. If you can’t find your way to some South Carolina seafood, any high quality domestic shrimp and oyster will make a great soup.
1/2 gallon fresh shucked Carolina oysters
1 lb. (U-16 – up to 16/pound) head-on, wild-caught shrimp --I recommend using the sweet pink or white ones from local South Carolina waters.
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. minced bacon
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 generous cup thinly sliced celery
1 thinly sliced yellow onion
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp. paprika
3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups fish stock (or clam juice)
1/2 gallon heavy cream
Drain the oysters and reserve the liquid. Peel the shrimp leaving the heads and tails on and devein by making a shallow butterfly incision.
Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, swirl until it renders its fat but doesn’t brown, and add all the dry ingredients and vegetables.
When onions are cooked through, add the oyster liquid and stock. Bring to a slow boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream. Cook, simmering for 4-5 minutes, until cream thickens.
Add the oysters and return to a slow boil. While this is going on, heat the butter over high heat in a 12-inch skillet. When butter is foaming, add the shrimp, searing to a light brown on one side only. Immediately slide the rare, one-side-browned shrimp into the soup pot. Stir, they will finish cooking in the hot soup, trust me.
Season with the Worcestershire to taste and serve immediately with buttered toast. Garnish bowls with paprika and some finely minced chives. Garnish bowls with paprika and some finely minced chives.