Holiday Entertaining: Oysters and Caviar

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Holiday Entertaining
Oysters and Caviar

For the holiday season we’re serving a most thrilling luxury, the world’s most sublime delicacy – the roe of a mature sturgeon!

It’s a connoisseur’s dream – a fresh shucked oyster topped with crème fraîche and a generous dollop of royal ossetra caviar.

Elegant jewel-like eggs with that fabulous, famous burst of the sea sit atop a crisp, firm-textured bivalve with a sweet aftertaste that sparkles with salinity. Crème fraîche adds a nuanced enhancement to the roe with its creamy tang. Pulling out all the stops, this opulence-in-a-shell is paired with Champagne to complement the caviar’s briny zest.

Exquisitely rich, gloriously complex, utterly delectable. Happy Holidays, my friends!

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Oysters and Caviar

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Start the Party with Grilled Oysters!

grilled oysters
Oysters on the Grill

 

“Gimme oysters and beer

For dinner every day of the year

And I’ll feel fine… I’ll feel fine”

Jimmy Buffett

 

We’re right in the middle of grilling season. This year, in addition to the usual steaks and burgers, why not change things up and throw some live oysters on the grill?

On the barbecue, oysters take a few minutes to heat up and once hot, they are much easier to shuck than the live ones. Cooked oysters are a great way to introduce tentative guests to the spell of the oyster cult. Sputtering and popping oysters on the grill are a terrific way to get the party started.

That old admonition to eat oysters in months that are only spelled with the letter “r” is no longer applicable. Oysters begin to spawn when the water temperature rises. Spawning oysters, while not inedible, are unpleasant and milky. Some oysters are bred to be incapable of spawning so these are consumed all year long. Additionally, during the hot months, vendors can easily import oysters from cooler regions where they are not spawning. Nowadays, there are so many areas where oysters are farmed, it is not difficult to find non-spawning oysters year round.

Six Toppings for Hot Oysters

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BBQ Oysters, Sriracha Butter

bbq oysters sriracha butter
BBQ Oysters with Sriracha Butter
(Another Thanksgiving Tradition)

bbq oysters

This year’s oyster selection:

Blue Point ~ An exceptional Atlantic oyster from Long Island with a crisp texture, gorgeous salinity and hints of celery.

Malaspina ~ a sweet,  mild Pacific oyster from British Columbia with a distinct watermelon-rind aroma and creamy-white flesh.

Luna ~ a Pacific oyster with delicate meats from Southern California with flavors of crisp melon and a salty cold finish.

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The Gratitude Tree & Holiday Appetizers

The Gratitude Tree
The Gratitude Tree

After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.

This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.

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Oysters Rockefeller Soup

Oysters Rockefeller Soup
Garnished with a Fresh Shucked Oyster,
Butter Lettuce, Creme Fraiche, and Salmon Roe

Oysters Rockefeller consists of oysters on the half-shell that have been topped with various other ingredients (often spinach or parsley, cheese, a rich butter sauce and bread crumbs) and are then baked or broiled.
The dish was created in 1899 at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s by Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder. It was named Oysters Rockefeller after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, for the richness of the sauce.  (from wikipedia)
Sunken City Supper Club
The Soup Course

In the previous post I was so excited to share the debut of our Sunken City Supper Club: A place to mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, and perhaps a little dancing to the awesome intimate jazz standards performed by Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. Their band is The Swing Of Things.

I hope you have a couple of minutes to enjoy The Swing Of Things as they perform “I’ve Heard That Song Before.” The song, popular in 1942, is just so fun and lovely, it can put anyone in a good mood…


Our Oysters Rockefeller Soup Recipe
Puree a small onion, 1/2 bunch parsley, 3 scallions, and 3 large leaves of butter lettuce in a food processor. Add a pound of fresh spinach and continue to puree to a uniform consistency.
Melt 4 T. butter in a saucepan, add 4 anchovy filets stirring until dissolved. Add the vegetable puree and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add 3 T. lemon juice and 3 T. flour.
Stir in one bottle clam juice, 1 c. chicken stock, 2 T. Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 2 c. heavy cream and grated nutmeg.
Finish with 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add a splash of Pastis and the liquid from the shucked oysters. 
Garnish with shredded butter lettuce, a fresh shucked oyster, a small dollop of creme fraiche and salmon roe or caviar of your choice. 
The initial idea for this recipe came from Barbara Kafka’s excellent soup cookbook, Soup A Way of Life.

Slide the fresh oyster onto the butter lettuce.

A soup inspired by a secret legendary old New Orleans recipe was the perfect one for the first Sunken City Supper Club dinner.

Fried Oysters, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Salsa Fresca

MALPEQUE OYSTER – (Crassostrea virginica)

Grown on the beds of Malpeque Bay, Prince Edward Island, far in northeastern corner of North America. The Malpeque Oyster was judged the world’s tastiest oyster at the Paris Exhibition in 1900. It continues to be recognized as one of the world’s finest, known for a clean, clear, pure taste.

This Salsa Picante Fresca is from my favorite neighborhood market, El Supermercado. They make great fresh salsas.
Chipotle Mayonnaise is mayonnaise mixed with chipotle (smoked jalapeño) chile adobo sauce.

  • Shuck the fresh oysters
  • Rinse and dry the shells
  • Dust oysters with seasoned flour
  • Dip in a beaten egg
  • Coat with panko breadcrumbs
  • Fry quickly in canola oil
  • Drain on paper towel
  • Place fried oyster back in the shell
  • Top with chipotle mayonnaise and salsa picante frescaGot a hankering for oysters? You may like these too.