For me, being from Alabama, classic oyster stew is defined by Wintzell’s Oyster House at their historic downtown location on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Alabama. My father was from Mobile and whenever back in the city, stopped there every chance he could. I learned to eat oysters as a young child in every way they serve them at Wintzell’s: Bienville, Rockefeller, Monterey, grilled or as they identify the more traditional forms, “fried, stewed and nude.” I like them all, but sometimes I crave them in a milk stew.
This is my version of classic gulf coast oyster stew. It is not chowder, is thinner than chowder and does not contain potatoes. It is in no way low fat, but it is good.
3 tbs sweet crème butter (salted)
2 tbs EVO
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 small green onions (1 tbs tender white part minced, 1 tbs tender green chopped)
8 oz shucked oysters (keep the juice)…these are from Apalachicola, FL, small but tasty
2 cups whole milk
Cavender’s all-purpose Greek seasoning
Lightly sauté garlic and onion in butter and EVO on med high heat until soft. Lightly drain oysters just before cooking (remember to save the juice) and cook with aromatics until edges wrinkle and separate (photo 2).
Add milk and oyster juice and season to taste. Light salt and pepper is classic, but I like to season with a couple of shakes of Cavender’s all-purpose Greek seasoning. Cook until hot. Don’t scald milk. Make sure there is enough butter so it can be seen floating on the top of the hot stew. If you wish, garnish with a little julienned green onion or chopped chives. Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a meal with fresh French or Italian bread for dipping.