At 7 a.m. this morning I was out gathering oysters with my friend, Mame. Last time I had a shellfish permit, it took forever to find enough oysters of legal size, but not this year! People have been saying it’s a fantastic year for oysters, and they are so right. The sand at low tide was just littered with big ones.

Here’s what I plan to do with them:

Oyster Stew
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 rib celery with leaves
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
24 shucked oysters and their liquor
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
2 TBSP butter
salt, fresh ground pepper, and tabasco to taste
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat the milk, bay leaf, celery, and onion in a saucepan and bring just to the boiling point. Put oyster and their liquor in another kettle and bring to a boil. Cook just until the oysters curl. Strain the milk over the oysters. (Discard the solids). Beat the egg yolk into the cream and add other seasonings. Add this to the stew and heat. Swirl in the butter.

serves four