Oysters are ready for Big Easy recipes
By Leslie Lippincott
COA Culinary Arts
Sunday, March 4, 2018
“Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with string,
These are a few of my favorite things.”
For “The Sound of Music,” Rodgers and Hammerstein certainly compiled a list of things that really do collectively make us smile. I’m sure that if Richard and Oscar had lived in Northeastern North Carolina, oysters would have made it into the lyrics too. Good news - Oysters R in Season right now. The old adage about eating oysters in months that have an “R” in their name is derived from the life cycle of the oyster. In the summer months, May through August, oysters are busy making baby oysters, so they are thinner because all their energy is focused on reproduction. But from September to April, it’s oyster eating time. Local oyster bars are shucking the delicious bivalves and invitations to oyster roasts abound.
Believe me, I am delighted to either take a seat at the oyster bar and work my way through dozens and pecks or stand around a table with cocktail sauce and crackers and savor them roasted. Today I want to share three of my favorite Oyster-y things: Oysters Bienville, the Oyster Loaf and Scalloped Oysters.
My late father-in-law attended Tulane University Med School, so NOLA food was a huge part of the family I married into, lucky me. Our first recipe, Oysters Bienville, named for New Orleans founder, Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, is always a favorite thing whenever served. Oysters baked in the shell** in a shrimpy-mushroomy creamy sauce creating multiple layers of umami flavor.
Second, also from The Big Easy, is the Oyster Loaf, the precursor to the famous Po’ Boy sandwich. Also known as the Creole “Peacemaker” … the treat to settle any quarrel.
Lastly, Scalloped Oysters. My Mom was from Saginaw, Michigan, I never discovered how this typically New England dish entered her food lexicon, but thankfully it did! Speak of being thankful, this dish was standard Thanksgiving Day fare every year at our house. Lovely plump oysters “scalloped” in oyster liquor and light cream layered with buttery soda cracker crumbs.
Finally, just a quick pairing note, try these with an Oyster Stout. Yup, that really is a stout beer traditionally made with … you got it – Oysters.
**Be careful shucking raw oysters!
Leslie Lippincott is instructor/program coordinator for Culinary Arts at College of the Albemarle’s Edenton-Chowan campus.