"How tantalizing that milky, creamy sea smell," Paddleford wrote of her mother Jennie's stew in 1965.
28 bluepoint oysters, well chilled
6 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. celery salt
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1. Shuck oysters over a medium bowl to catch oyster liquor, putting shucked oysters into another bowl. Discard shells.
2. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in worcestershire, paprika, and celery salt, then add oysters and bring to a simmer. Add 1 cup of the reserved oyster liquor to pan, discarding any remaining liquor, and bring to a boil. Add milk and half-and-half to pan and heat, stirring once or twice, until just about to boil (do not allow to boil, or stew will curdle), 3–5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
3. Divide remaining 2 tbsp. butter between 4 warm soup bowls just before ladling in stew.