This oyster soup bursts with the heady flavors of the sea. Rather than heavy cream, this recipe uses pureed rice to add body and the mellow sweetness needed to balance the oysters. It makes an elegant starter for a dinner party.
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
2 leeks, trimmed, washed (see Tip) and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, finely chopped
½ cup long-grain white rice
3 cups water, divided
3 cups clam juice, (see Tip), divided
1 cup low-fat milk
1 pint shucked oysters with their liquor
⅛ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add carrots and leeks and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold running water. Spread the vegetables on paper towels and pat dry; set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in 1½ cups water and 1½ cups clam juice; increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the rice is very soft, 25 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
Return the puree to the pan; pour in milk and the remaining 1½ cups water and 1½ cups clam juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in oysters and their liquor and cook gently until the oysters are curled at the edges, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the bisque into bowls and garnish with the reserved carrots and leeks.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2. Refrigerate the vegetable garnish (Step 1) and puree (Step 2) in separate covered containers for up to 8 hours.
Tips: To clean leeks, trim and discard green tops and white roots. Split leeks lengthwise and place in plenty of water. Swish the leeks in the water to release any sand or soil. Drain. Repeat until no grit remains.
Check sodium carefully when using clam juice because the amount of sodium can vary dramatically between brands. We use Bar Harbor clam juice with only 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving.