Three Food Writers Face Off In A Shellfish Cooking Challenge

Uproxx / Disney

I always look at a person differently if they don’t like shellfish. It’s sustainable, it’s not overly fishy, and it’s a key part of virtually all the world’s most beloved cuisines. Turning our food gaze in this direction seemed natural. But a shellfish challenge has some wrinkles, foremost being that it’s often best when left untreated.

That makes this cooking battle particularly fun: There’s a small margin for error and the “you should have just left it alone” quotient is high. As always, your shares, Tweets, and comments are much appreciated.

— Steve Bramucci, Managing Editor, Uproxx Life

PAST RESULTS:

BLT Showdown — 1) Vince 2) Zach 3) Steve
Mac & Cheese Showdown — 1) Vince 2) (tie) Zach, Steve
Taco Showdown — 1) Steve 2) Zach 3) Vince
Winter Stew Showdown — 1) Zach 2) Steve 3) Vince
Date Night Showdown — 1) Zach 2) Vince 3) Steve
Pasta Showdown — 1) Steve 2) Zach 3) Vince
Hot Beef Challenge — 1) Zach 2) Vince 3) Steve

CURRENT SCORE:

We’re giving three points to the winner and one to second place for each round. As it stands, the score is:

ZACH: 13
STEVE: 8
VINCE: 8


ZACH’S OYSTER BISQUE

Zach Johnston

The bisque is one of those soups that sounds intimidating. Hell, it tastes intimidating. I never really got “it” until I spent a couple weeks driving the entire perimeter of France a few years back. As I meandered through Bordeaux along the Bay of Biscay, I got in the habit of sampling the plate du jour every day. And invariably that came with a bowl of the local chef or maman’s bisque — which was always fortified with plenty of brandy and the morning’s catch. Each bowl had a personality. There’s that briny blend of tomato, saffron, cream, and stock all creating this light and refreshing soup that nourishes and delights. It’s a classic dish that lives and dies by the little tweaks the chef uses to make it his or her own personal masterpiece in a bowl.

On my trip, I studied and talked and came away with a path towards making my own pot of bisque at home. This is that recipe.

The Shellfish

Zach Johnston

I wasn’t in the mood to kill a lobster today. So I killed some oysters instead. Funny how that works. Anyway, I grabbed a dozen Fine de Claire’s that came in this morning from Marennes, France. What you want to do here is shuck them carefully. It’s imperative that you reserve as much of the oyster liquor as possible for the soup.

So I set up a sieve over a shallow bowl and put on my oyster shuckin’ gloves and get to work.

Once my oysters are shucked, I set aside. I restrain the oyster liquor two more times to assure that any little bits of calcium shell are removed and set that aside.

Zach Johnston

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