Oyster & Artichoke Soup

20 oysters
8 medium or six large artichokes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

3 scallions finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fennel root
1/4 cup minced celery
Salt & White Pepper to taste

Fill a large deep saucepan with just enough water to cover the artichokes. Cover the pan loosely and boil for about a half an hour until the leaves pull away easily. Remove the leaves, and the choke. Chop the heart and stem coarsely and set them aside in a covered bowl. Shuck the oysters, reserving and straining their liquor through a cheesecloth.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for just a minute over a very low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, stock, cream, chopped fennel, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir as you bring this to a low simmer for about twenty minutes.

Remove the seasoned and thickened stock from the heat, add the artichoke hearts and stems, the oyster liquor and eight oysters.Pulse in a blender to a rough texture.

When ready to serve, bring the soup back up to heat and add the chopped scallions.

Cook for just thirty seconds or so and then add the remaining dozen oysters and cook just until the edges just begin to curl.

Serve immediately.artichokeman