Monday, December 31, 2018


For the French, New Year Means Good Oysters

(and this was the tradition in my home growing up)

"We are having oysters for Christmas and for New Year's Eve. The tradition is that you have to eat oysters for feast. So if there are no oysters for New Year's Eve, for instance, something is missing." (Jean Goese)
"Oysters accompanied by white wine or champagne are eaten raw in France, scrapped out of their shells with tiny forks while still alive ..." (Eleanor Beardsley)


(Christmas or New Year's Eve Favorite)

2  pints oysters in their liquid
10  Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2  cup flour
4-6  stalks minced celery and leaves
2-3  minced large shallots
4 - 6  cups 1/2 and 1/2 or mix of heavy cream and milk
Tabasco splashes to taste
1 cup minced fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

  • Strain and reserve oyster liquor. Strain oyster liquor again to remove any sand or grit. Discard solids. Rinse oysters well under cold water.
  • In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add celery and shallots and cook until slightly softened. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Reduce heat and cook mixture 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until a bit brown looking. 
  • Add strained oyster liquor and any oyster juices in bowls. Slowly add and whisk in 1/2 and 1/2. Add Tabasco and heat soup to steamy (not boil) for 15 minutes. 
  • Add oysters (if some too large, chop into 'slurping'-size consistency) and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until edges begin to curl. (Don't overcook tender oysters).
  • Add 1/2 of chopped parsley, adjust seasonings, and use remaining for garnish (Serves 8)

Note: At my home growing up and continued on for my adult years, Oyster Stew is also often served with another French Canadian traditional dish ...  Tourtiere (Meat Pie).