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First things first, I must start off today’s post with a huge thank you to Perry Raso, owner of Matunuck Oyster Bar, and his talented executive chef, Jeff Cruff, for being kind enough to share the recipe for this amazing Matunuck Oyster Bar Stew so we could share it here on A Family Feast! This Matunuck Oyster Bar Stew is quite possibly the best oyster stew we’ve ever eaten!
I had the huge pleasure of visiting the Matunuck Oyster Bar, enjoying an amazing lunch, as well as taking a tour of the Matunuck Oyster Farm, last month during a visit to Rhode Island’s South County. I joined a small group of other bloggers who were invited by the Rhode Island Tourism Division to visit some very special places along Rhode Island’s gorgeous south coast – and it really is a region that anyone should add to their must-visit list this summer!
The highlight of our day was our visit to Matunuck Oyster Bar, located in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. We started our visit with a tour of the shellfish farm in Potter Pond – learning how local shellfish including oysters and scallops are cultivated in local waters.
Owner Perry Raso, who received his Master’s degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology at the University of Rhode Island, is passionate about sustainable aquaculture, and increasing visitors’ understanding of how seafood is cultivated and Rhode Island’s unique estuarian environment – making it ideally suited for shellfish farming.
The shellfish farm tours are free and open to the public throughout the summer. Click here for more information and reservations.
Raso also operates his own organic vegetable farm – and the produce is served at the Matunuck Oyster Bar restaurant. (Raso lives on site, and he told us that his centuries-old house is haunted!)
Our visit to Matunuck ended with a delicious lunch – including oysters of course! Matunck Oyster Bar offers indoor and outdoor dining overlooking Potter Pond. Here’s a glimpse at some of the wonderful dishes we enjoyed including: Oysters Trio (Rockefeller, Grilled, and Bourbon – my favorite!), Oyster Sampler, Point Judith Calimari, Matunuck Oyster Bar Stew (recipe below), Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, and Tuna Tartare Tacos.
I have to mention that for such a wonderfully gourmet menu, the prices at Matunuck Oyster Bar are very reasonable, the portions are generous, and there is also a great wine list too! You can see their menu here.
P.S. My husband Jack was extremely jealous that he didn’t get the chance to join me on my visit to Matunuck Oyster Bar – but we’re already planning a return visit on our own! After we made this delicious Matunuck Oyster Bar Stew at home, Jack – who always wants to ‘tinker’ with recipes – talked for days about how delicious the stew tasted and that it was absolutely perfect the way it is. (No tinkering necessary!) 🙂
This creamy, rich stew has a generous amount of fresh oysters and chunks of sweet potatoes and parsnips in a perfectly seasoned broth. Kudos to Chef Jeff Cruff for such an amazing dish!
Disclosure: I was hosted for the day by the Rhode Island Tourism Division but received no additional compensation for my visit or post. All opinions are 100% mine. Our visit also included a brief visit to Watch Hill (Westerly), Rhode Island including ice cream at St. Clair Annex (a local favorite), and a tour of the spectacular, historic and newly-renovated Ocean House seaside resort.
- 2 dozen fresh Matunuck Oysters (see note above)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- ¼ cup shallots, finely minced
- 3 large or 4 small whole sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups light cream
- 1 cup peeled sweet potato, diced into small pieces
- 1 cup peeled parsnips, diced into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Oyster crackers to serve with the stew, optional
- Using a towel and shucking knife, shuck oysters over a bowl, retaining the liquid that comes out of the shell. Reserve oysters in a second bowl picking out any bits of shell that may have broken off.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add shallots and whole sprigs of rosemary.
- Cook over medium for 10-15 minutes until shallots are caramelized.
- Add heavy and light cream, bring to a slight simmer and cook 10 more minutes, never letting the mixture boil. Use a thermometer and don’t let the temperature rise above 170 degrees F. If it does, remove from the heat to bring the temperature down.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the cream mixture. Discard the solids.
- In a medium soup pot, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and add the potatoes and parsnips. Stir and cook for five to ten minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not over cooked.
- Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon and cook over medium low for three minutes.
- Slowly add the cream mixture, stirring as you add and return to a slow simmer.
- Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper and stir.
- Pour the oyster liquor through a strainer and into the stew, stopping just as you get to the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Discard that sediment.
- Bring the mixture to a slow simmer and taste. Season as needed. (I can tell you that Chef Jeff Cruff developed this recipe to be perfectly seasoned as is.)
- One minute before serving, add shucked oysters, simmer one minute then serve immediately with oyster crackers.
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