Trader Vic's Part II:
One of my favorite soups at Trader Vic's, actually anywhere, is Bongo Bongo soup. This signature dish is a spinach and oyster purée topped with a dollop of lightly whipped cream. If the thought of puréed oysters makes you gag, fear not, they add just a hint of wonderful background flavor and do not overpower the soup at all. You'd probably just think it was salt, but they give the soup that necessary rich, smooth, creamy texture.
Bongo Bongo Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 10 oz jar of fresh shucked oysters (or shuck 'em your bad self)
1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach (we've used fresh and it works quite fine)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup clam juice
4 cup half-and-half
1 tsp A-1 Steak Sauce (I know, weird, but add it)
A dash of Tabasco sauce
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp cold water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, lightly whipped, for garnish
Combine butter, oysters, spinach, garlic and clam juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once at a boil, turn off heat and set aside to cool.
In a separate saucepan, heat the half-and-half, but do not allow to boil.
Blend the cooled oyster mixture until smooth, then stir into the warm half-and-half. Add the A-1, Tabasco, Worcestershire and salt and heat thoroughly. Slowly mix in the cornstarch mixture and whisk constantly until soup thickens. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Pour into bowls, garnish with a dollop of lightly whipped cream. If you'd like, brown the top under a broiler. Makes approximately 4 cups.
This is also a fun soup to serve in tiny shot-sized glasses as an hors d'oeuvre.