Tis the “R” season. Culinary tradition tells us that months containing this letter are prime time for that succulent mollusk, the oyster. I like ‘em any which way but raw. I never had an oyster until I married. Actually, prior to that the only sea foods that had crossed my lips were tuna (canned); shrimp, (boiled); and snapper, (baked). Jim couldn’t believe this lack to my palate, and made it one of his marital missions to introduce me to as many of these delights as possible. And my, was he successful. I admit the oyster was my biggest challenge, but once I knew they could also be roasted, baked, stewed and fried, I could hardly resist them.

We have lots of recipes for these gems, including a stew with a long prep time. But the other day I was shopping late, got the urge for oysters and bought the grocery’s last two half pints. I decided I’d “do something” with them for supper. There wasn’t much time when I got home so I surveyed the pantry and the fridge and went to work. Jim gave it his “TRG” (That’s Really Good!) award, so I can’t resist sharing.

OYSTER STEW

2 cans soup, cream of mushroom and cream of

celery, the low sodium, heart healthy variety

1 soup can fat free half and half

Chopped onions, celery and mushrooms, to suit

16 ounces oysters

Mrs. Dash salt free garlic and herbs

Low sodium Old Bay seasoning

Grated cheese

Put soup and half and half in top of double boiler and heat. Meanwhile, sauté the veggies in a skillet with buttery spray. (I always keep containers of chopped onions and celery in the fridge for occasions like this. Chopping mushrooms takes no time at all.

When almost done, add the drained oysters until they begin to curl. Combine the skillet contents with the soups. Add seasonings to taste. Preheating the soups and adding oysters to the skillet brings everything up to temperature quickly. Heat to favorite oyster texture. Top with grated cheese, if desired. TRG!

While reading about oysters I came across this verse by David Cohen, which is indeed food for thought, and although I’ve never gotten any other kind of gem out of this shell, it gives it an added dimension.

THE OYSTER

There once was an oyster whose story I tell,

Who found that some sand had got into his shell.

It was only a grain but it gave him great pain,

For oysters have feelings

although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate

That had brought him to such a deplorable state?

Did he curse at the government, cry for election,

And claim that the sea

should have given him protection?

No – He said to himself as he lay on a shell,

Since I cannot remove it, I shall try to improve it.

Now the years have rolled around,

as the years always do,

And he came to his ultimate destiny – stew.

And the small grain of sand

that had bothered him so

Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.

Now the tale has a moral;

For isn’t it grand what an oyster can do

With a morsel of sand.

What couldn’t we do

If we’d only begin

With some of the things

That get under our skin.