Thinking of Oysters

It’s no secret that I love oysters–fresh and cold, raw on the half shell with just a squeeze of lemon. The more they taste of the ocean the better. I grew up eating Gulf oysters–raw, in stews, fried and piled high onto French bread, or charbroiled. Ten years in France had me favoring Belons and plates, oysters from Cancale. I miss Sunday mornings at le Baron Rouge in Paris, the bustling Marché d’Aligre and standing at barrels eagerly watching shuckers offer up platters of plates et belons, clairesand more. More recently, I’ve fallen for Totten Virginicas (at Grand Central Oyster Bar) and Alaskan oysters from Kachemak Bay.

The photo below is from Le Comptoir du Relais in Paris. I had just arrived in the city and, slightly jetlagged, promptly ordered pork rillettes and oysters. Who needs sleep or melatonin when you can have this remedy?

Oysters and pork rillettes at le Comptoir du Relais St. Germain

And, my vote for the best oyster name goes to Hootenanny. How could you not love an oyster named Hootenanny. What’s your favorite oyster and why? How do you like to eat your oysters?

11 comments... read them below or add one


  1. November 29, 2010 11:35 am by Bigswede Reply

    Love the shot! Makes me wish I could eat them though just going there would suffice!

  2. November 29, 2010 11:43 am by Seung Hee Reply

    I love oysters. Thank god I live right along the Chesapeake bay. I don’t remember names of many varieties but I do remember Rappahannock because of its tongue twisting name. However, I must confess my love for Korean oysters! They are big and creamy with perfect saltiness. It has full bodied flavor is no where to be found in the Chesapeake bay area. :( It’s like comparing heavy whipping cream with half and half.

  3. November 29, 2010 1:28 pm by kim Reply

    I’m sorry I missed the Korean oysters! How are they served?
    Thanks, Beau. You’re the photographer! Yes, a trip to Paris is always in order…

  4. November 29, 2010 10:52 pm by Dan Reply

    I might have been in a Comptoir du Relais-induced euphoria, but belon oysters are my favorite (though I’ve eaten many more Apalachicolas)

  5. December 1, 2010 12:53 pm by StaceyMorris Reply

    I must confess…not a fan of the raw oyster. But I’ve never met a fried one I didn’t like. Believe it or not, some of the best fried oysters (not in close proximity to an ocean) are served at the Lake George, N.Y. A&W in the heart of The Adirondacks. The owner is very fussy about his menu and it shows. I go there at least twice a summer, braving the ferocious crowds of tourists and the restaurant’s ridiculously small parking lot to get my oyster on.

    Just made a trip to Apalachicola, Fla. in the panhandle. Quite possibly the oyster capital of the state. Shrimping and oyster harvesting are huge industries there and all the seafood is just-caught. Friends of mine ate oysters right off the boat of our fishing charter. Captain George Ward never sets sail without a bottle of hot sauce and some Saltines.

    I declined his gifts from the sea…but on land, I was in fried oyster heaven!

  6. December 2, 2010 5:30 pm by Seung Hee Reply

    Korean oysters are served on the half shell (or sometimes totally out of the shell) and dipped in cho-kochujang (Korean chili paste with vinegar). We also pan fry them. Coat it with flour and then egg wash, and pan fry, dip in in cho-ganjang (Soy sauce with vinegar). Sooooooo good.

  7. December 3, 2010 12:56 pm by Brian Garrido Reply

    I love Le Comptoir. It’s one of my favorite places in Paris. I hope that we get to share the experience one day. Much love, B.

  8. December 10, 2010 5:38 pm by Ayelet Reply

    Hello there,
    Just finished reading your book (in Hebrew).
    Thank you for an interesting, intriguing experience.
    Looking forward for your next book and wishing you happiness.


  9. December 14, 2010 5:52 pm by kim Reply

    Thank you, Ayelet for the kind words re: Trail (in Hebrew) and the wishes for happiness.
    Same to you.

  10. December 16, 2010 3:42 pm by Rowan Reply

    Kim, I envy your French oyster eating! Can’t import them
    live into the U.S., so I can only fantasize about Belons. Lately I
    have, however, eaten my way through a pile of Totten Inlet
    Virginicas, Olympias, and Shibumis, all from Puget Sound. I even
    turned on two oyster virgins to Olympias at the University of
    Vermont yesterday during a terroir class. One of them was even a
    vegetarian. Right now Hog Island Sweetwaters (from Tomales Bay,
    California) are fantastic. The Hog Island Atlantics were a little
    thin; they’ll be better next summer. On the East COast, Naked
    Cowboys continue to be the #1 oyster in New York, though I prefer
    the Genuine Blue Points from Great South Bay. I look forward to
    sampling some Kachemaks with you in Alaska next summer.

  11. April 25, 2012 12:43 pm by Woody Reply

    Favorite oyster? Got to be chargrilled Gulf oysters at Drago’s- New Orleans.

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