A smooth, intensely flavored bisque that brings out the flavor of oysters. Fennel is a great companion flavor to oysters.
24 medium oysters, shucked, liquor reserved
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery root, finely chopped
1 cup fennel bulb, finely chopped, a few fronds reserved
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 Serrano chile (or other chile to taste), seeded
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup fish stock
1 tbsp vegetable base, such as Better than Bouillon
Salt to taste
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
Fennel pollen (optional)
No nutrition information available
Carefully clean the oysters to remove any shell pieces and attachment knob. Strain the oyster liquor thru a fine sieve. Combine the liquor and oysters and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the vegetables (onion, celery root, fennel bulb, garlic, chile), bay leaf, vegetable base, 1/2 cup fish stock, and salt to taste. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable mix to a blender with approximately 1/2 cup fish stock, or just sufficient stock to facilitate achieving a smooth puree. Set aside.
Clean the sauce pan and return to medium heat. Add the oysters and liquor and bring to a gentle simmer only long enough that the edges of the oysters start to curl. Add the cream and milk and return to just a simmer. Gently stir in the reserved vegetable puree and continue to cook until just to a simmer and remove from the heat. Adjust seasoning as needed with salt and white pepper or cayenne to taste.
Ladle the bisque, apportioning the oysters, into bowls and sprinkle with fennel fronds, fennel pollen and parsley.