Olympia Oyster Stew

When the Olympia Oyster House remodeled they put up a big fake oyster behind their sign. Only one side of an Oyster with the insides showing. It looked like…well…female genitalia. So, eventually, they put on a top shell. I don’t know, I kind of liked the pink. It gave the place a little character, a little edginess. It’s not a bad restaurant and their Oyster Stew is decent. They have a good variety of Oyster dishes and their outdoor seating along the railing is nice. If I were to make one suggestion it would be roof-top deck…..

The Olympia Oyster House – 320 4th Ave W, Olympia, WA 98501       Tel: (360) 753-7000

Olympia is actually quite famous for it’s tiny Oysters. They are good eats and very versatile. You can have them pan fried, deep fried, baked, grilled, stewed, raw, curried, smoked, pickled, in stuffing, in fritters, on a sandwich, in casseroles, in cocktails and even in a Hang-Town Fry.

Just a warning for you Oyster virgins out there – do not confuse saltwater Oysters with Rocky Mountain Oysters.

I have a lot of vegetarian friends, but one friend in particular has interesting parameters for her diet. A lot of vegetarians I know won’t eat eggs, but she does. So I asked her about it. Her answer: She won’t eat anything with a face. I kind of like this definition. She is also one of the pickiest vegetarians I know. She doesn’t like eggplant, broccoli or tofu, just to name a few, but she is adventurous. So I thought I’d make an Oyster Stew she could try.

There are other Oyster Stews and Clam Chowders dubed “Pacific Northwest” or “Puget Sound”, but the truth is, they have very little in them that is actually native to the Pacific Northwest. I’ve searched and search and they all seem to be only slight variations on a theme. I wanted something a little different and so does my reader Emmett. Emmett, this one is for you.

Olympia Oyster Stew with Chantrells

Olympia Oyster Stew with Chantrells

Oysters, lots – two bottles if you are getting them that way


truffel oil



1 1/2 quart of Milk

1 6oz carton of whipping cream

1/2 cup water

1/2 vegetable bullion

1 teaspoon sugar


1 Walla walla sweet onions

2 cloves of garlic

2-3 red potatoes

1 parsnips


pinch of Cayenne pepper

First you will want to saute your onions, garlic and Chantrells in butter. You can do this in the same pot you are going to make the soup in. Don’t over cook them, they will cook more in the soup. Add the water and bullion and stir until the bullion is dissolved. Next, turn down the heat to simmer and add your milk, whipping cream, parsnips, potatoes and Oysters. Make sure your Oysters are well cleaned – grit is gross. Let this simmer with a lid on until your potatoes and parsnips are fairly soft. Add your chopped Walnuts, a dash of Chardonney (make it a Washington wine), sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook a little longer. Be careful not to let it boil. Remember one of the rules of life and cooking – things should not be left unattended for too long. When you serve it up drizzle a tiny bit of truffle oil on the top and sprinkle with Cayenne. If you don’t have truffle oil, try sesame oil and sprinkle a little parsley on the top when you serve.

I also found this lovely recipe. I think I will try it. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Soup/OysterBrie.htm

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