This was an improvisation: Planning to make oyster bisque at my friend Betty’s house in New York one night, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have enough oysters. The fish market was closed, but I remembered that, in Bordeaux, oysters are often accompanied by little chipolata sausages, and found not chipolatas but good homemade Italian sausage at a butcher shop nearby. I think the combination works quite nicely.
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter to which a few drops of oil have been added. Add shallots and celery and cook until very soft. Add tomato paste and stir well, then add sausage. Cook for about 5 minutes, then dust contents of pan with flour, stir again, and add half-and-half.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened. Add oysters and their liquor and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more and serve.
© 1992 Colman Andrews. All rights reserved.