"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
Shuck oysters over a medium bowl to catch oyster liquor, putting shucked oysters into another bowl. Discard shells.
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.
Divide remaining 2 tbsp. butter between 4 warm soup bowls just before ladling in stew.