This soup comes directly from The late chef Paul Prudhomme’s K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen where I did estage twice while I still had Mistress Augustine’s Restaurant. It is a mystery to me that Australian oyster sellers tip the oyster liquor down the sink instead of utilising it. In New Orleans and general French cooking it is never wasted. When we shuck oysters we always strain the liquor and if not using it for the particular recipe we are making freeze it to use in other dishes.
AO 22 AUGUST 2022
3 dozen South Australian oysters, closed
2 large leeks, split, washed white and green separated, top really tough green discarded
125g unsalted butter
80g extra virgin olive oil
1200g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
freshly ground white pepper
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stalked and finely chopped 
1/4 a bunch of thyme, stalked and finely chopped
1/4 a bunch of watercress, stalked and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 a teaspoon of tabasco – more if you like a spicy bite
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Pernod
Maldon sea salt to taste
Place a sieve over a bowl and shuck the oysters and their liquor into the sieve. Dry the leeks, slice the white part of the leek very finely, julienne 6 x 8cm pieces of the tops, and very finely slice the more tender green tops, discarding the rest.
Put the butter and olive oil into a 5L [approx] saucepan and place it on medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the white of the leek and the pepper and cook stirring frequently until golden. Add the potatoes to the pot, continuing to cook for a further few minutes. Add the oyster liquor and half of the herbs to the pot, then add sufficient water to cover everything by about 3cm.
Bring up to simmer and add half of the oysters to the saucepan. When the potatoes are cooked and the mixture somewhat thickened, puree with a stick mixer. Stir through the finely sliced green tops. Fry the green leek julienne in hot olive oil until golden and crisped, draining it on paper towel…[garnish optional]. To this point can be done in advance.
Just before serving, add the Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and cream, bring up to simmer, add the balsamic vinegar and Pernod and taste to check the seasonings, adding salt only at this point, as oysters and their liquor can vary in saltiness. When ready to plate up, stir through the remaining oysters and chopped herbs, remove from the heat and plate up making sure that there are 3 whole oysters in each bowl. Garnish with the fried leek.
Do not add the whole oysters until you are ready to serve, they are just to be warmed through. Any prolonged heat will cause them to expel their liquor and they with become tough and rubbery. Serve with crusty bread.
 By bunch we mean proper farmers’ market herb bunches not the miniscule plastic packed herbs one finds in supermarkets.
WE LOVE OYSTERS
Whilst we do make them fancy always a favourite the classic French finely chopped shallot in white balsamic or lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper.