January 27, 2016 lyukum

Romantic French Menu: Oyster Soup

Oyster Soup

“Being at home, preparing a meal for someone special of your very own — this is an act of love. It is much more significant than presenting candy or flowers. The food itself may be tempting, but it is the energy you put into the preparation and presentation of the meal that is sexy.”
Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François by Jacques E. Haeringer

Showing Off

None more bare than the shoemaker’s wife and the smith’s mare. I realized my online recipe collection lacks substantial French cuisine representation. This, I feel, is wrong, since classic French cuisine had much influence on my culinary education.

Recently, I got a new cookbook (which is quoted above) as a gift. It inspired me to work on my Romantic French Menu. The book doesn’t have many pictures, but it has all the right words. I do too tell couples this when teach my cooking classes — “Bring that special someone into the kitchen first — who knows what may follow. Love begins in the kitchen.” — I find this to be oh so true.

Size Doesn’t Matter — Pun Intended

London. Borough Market

London. Borough Market

London. Borough Market

London. Borough Market


When in Texas, experiencing fresh Gulf of Mexico oysters is a must. They are sweeter, bigger, and creamier than their northern counterparts. You’d need 3 of them per portion of this particular soup.

However, outside Texas and other Gulf states, couples in love will have equal chances to enhance their love life through this delicacy of the sea. There are many regions of the world which produce potent and wonderful oysters.

The French are famous for being good in the kitchen. They never worry that their most common oyster varieties — the Fine de Claire and the Tsarskaya (aka Pasific) are considered petit. It’s not the size — it’s how you use it. In this case — how many. French cooks would take 5-6 of them per portion of soup.

Britain’s culinary skills, on the other hand, have been stereotypically denounced for ages. That’s probably why Brits like to impress the rest of the Europe with their giant old European oysters (aka Pied de Cheval). One could say, one of those per plate is enough.

London. Borough Market

London. Borough Market


French poet Leon-Paul Fargue wrote: “I love oysters. It’s like kissing the sea on the lips.” If you could compare kisses to passionate bites, I would say you need 5-6 oyster kisses per portion for this soup. Based on your geography and size preferences, choose your oysters accordingly.

Puns, jokes and poetry aside, learn about different regional oyster varieties from the sources listed in Recipe Notes below.

The Juicy Details

As you will become an expert in shucking oysters, you will have to demonstrate it in front of your lover. If you are an ingénue, try this method from ChefSteps.com: “If the traditional method is the equivalent to prying a door open with a crowbar, this method is akin to picking a lock — you’ll feel less like a sweaty lout, more like a sexy spy.” Following the steps, shuck the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor, which is the natural juice inside the shell.

That clear juice is precious. It keeps the creature alive when out of the water. It smells like fresh wind from the ocean and tastes amazing. No wonder it’s referred to as liquor. If you prefer to start with shucked oysters, ask your fishmonger to add oyster liquor after they’ve been weighed and priced.

Potion Number…

Love lifts us up and true passion need not be heavy. I modified this recipe to cater to the delicate passions of modern eaters.

Oyster Soup

Oyster Soup


French Romantic Menu: Oyster Soup
Print Recipe
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Servings servings
Print Recipe
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Servings servings
Ingredients
Units:
Ingredients
Units:
Instructions
  1. Shuck oysters and reserve oyster liquor.
  2. Wash and finely dice leeks, celery, and radishes. Prepare seasoning, heavy whipping cream, and water.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and add leeks and celery. Warm them up on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, gently stirring.
  4. Add reserved oyster liquor, heavy cream, water, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to simmering and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat, stirring. The goal is to infuse cream with oyster and vegetable flavors and slightly cook it down. Add some lemon juice and cayenne pepper, adjust to your taste. Add diced radish right before serving. Warm the plates and place oysters in them.
  5. You are in control of the texture of served oysters. If your prefer them raw, just pour hot soup on top of them, garnish with fresh chervil, and serve. I like them to spend some time in hot soup before serving, so they don't reduce the temperature of the soup too fast. You can also simmer them for 2 to 5 minutes to cook them medium to medium-done.
Recipe Notes
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