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1. Drain oysters, reserving liquid. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Add enough water to strained liquid to measure 2 cups. Set aside. Rinse oysters thoroughly to remove any bits of sand or shell.
2. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add leek; cook until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in flour, salt, and tarragon. Slowly stir in half-and-half. Cook and stir until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Cover and keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine reserved 2 cups oyster liquid and oysters. Bring just to simmering over medium heat; reduce heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until oysters curl around the edges, stirring occasionally. Skim and discard fat from surface of cooking liquid. Stir oyster mixture into cream mixture. Heat through. If desired, garnish each serving with croutons. Makes 10 appetizer or 6 main-dish servings