Preparation / Directions:
If using fresh spinach, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Squeeze as dry as possible. Place the fresh or frozen spinach in a food processor and turn the machine on and off until finely chopped.
In a large saucepan, heat 1/3 c of the chicken stock over moderately high heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining chicken stock, the oyster liquor and the spinach. Slowly add the half-and-half and mix well. Simmer the soup for 8 minutes, stirring constantly to blend the flavors.
Add the Pernod and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese, anise seed, salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and add the oysters. Garnish each serving with a slice of lemon.
Marcelle Bienvenu, Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana