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Fresh oysters, oysters Mornay and Essex cockle chowder

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For the Essex cockle chowder

  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 250ml/9fl oz dry white wine
  • 400g/14oz cooked picked cockles, rinsed thoroughly (or 1kg/2lb 2oz raw cockles, in the shells, cleaned thoroughly inside and out)
  • 3 floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and chopped
  • 500ml/17½l;fl oz milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh curly-leaved parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper

For the oysters Mornay

  • 60g/2½oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml/17½fl oz full-fat milk
  • 110g/4oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 24 fresh, good-quality oysters, shucked, half the shells reserved (discard any oysters that are dry inside)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh curly-leaved parsley

For the traditional oysters

To serve

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