Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Makes: About 4 cups, enough for 12 small servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart half-and-half
1/4 cup dry white wine, optional
1 pint shucked oysters with their liquor (juice)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1. Soften: In a heavy medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Tumble in onion, celery, garlic, salt and cayenne; cook until very soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Thicken: Sprinkle in flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Slowly pour in half-and-half and wine. Cook over medium heat, 5 minutes. If working ahead: Cool, cover and chill until ready to serve.
3. Serve: Set a strainer over the pan and pour in oysters, letting liquor drop into the soup. Reheat soup until very hot. Slide in oysters; cook just until their edges curl, about 3 minutes. Ladle hot soup into small cups. Garnish with zest. Slurp.