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Oyster Artichoke Soup

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On my first adult visit to New Orleans, I started things off with lunch at Galatoire’s, which remains among the city’s finest restaurants. I can still remember my first taste of Oyster Artichoke Soup, with its intoxicating mix of oyster brine, tangy artichoke and butter. You could make this recipe with unshucked oysters and fresh artichokes, as Galatoire’s does. I find myself to be lazier and prefer the ease of this version from “La Bouche Creole,” a souvenir I picked up on that trip.

Oyster Artichoke Soup

2 dozen oysters and their water
2 bunches shallots, chopped (about 6 large or 8 medium shallots)
1/2 pound butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste

Poach the oysters in their own water. Strain, reserving water, and set aside.

Sauté the shallots in melted butter. When they are transparent, add the flour. Mix well, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. add oyster water and the juice from the artichoke hearts. Pour in additional water to make enough for eight to 10 diners. Add 2 bay leaves, and salt and white pepper, to taste. Slowly bring to a boil. Chop the oysters and artichoke hearts and add to the soup. Cook for a few more minutes and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

From “La Bouche Creole” by Leon E. Soniat Jr.

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