Oysters

Other celebratory dishes may vary from family to family, but on every table here during les fêtes de fin d’année (the festivities at the end of the year) you can be sure to see oysters, either raw and served with slices of lemon or cooked in some way, usually quickly under the grill to melt a topping of cheese. The coquillage van from Bouzigues made a special visit to the village on Christmas Eve, its busiest day of the year except for New Year’s Eve. We and most other customers had ordered in advance to be sure and we bought some clams, mussels and of course oysters.

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We ate some oysters raw, and cooked these ones, adding a spoonful of crème fraîche and some grated cheese to each and putting them under the grill until the cheese had melted. Very simple and quick to prepare and a delicious supper for the night before Christmas.

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The next day we went to Mèze, wondered around the zone conchylicole (the shell fish producers’ area of the shore) and saw some of the processes of their production.

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One of the boats used for farming the oysters, with the oyster and mussel beds in the lagoon and then Sète in the distance across the water.

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Here the young oysters had been glued on to the ropes where they will grow. Once the glue has dried they will be taken out into the lagoon and lowered into the water to mature.

6 thoughts on “Oysters

  1. Today there was a very interesting piece on M6 news in France about a producer in the Basssin de Thau who is using solar power to raise and lower the oyster beds to simulate tides. This is giving very good quality oysters.

  2. Loved the post as Sydney, Down Under, is also one of the oyster capitals of the world. Addicted to them! Your oysters from Bouzigues look very much like our Hawkesbury ones: I thought all French offferings were of a bigger size! Am an ‘au naturel’ gal myself, but your ‘mornay’ is much lighter than most would offer here: lovely! Actually, if I am offered the beauties cooked, I’ll settle for ‘Bercy’ or if one REALLY has REAL caviar to put on an oyster, the very oldfashioned ‘Czarina’ still has appeal! Enjoy your holiday period!!

  3. As a boy, we had shell fish on major holidays and Dad was in charge of shucking and preparing the oysters and clams. Although I always had one of each, my interests were with the prawns and crabmeat cocktails. To this day, though, a platter of fresh oysters signifies party to me.
    You were on my mind today. To start, I went back to the market looking for black olives. They had few, compared to last week, and these were in terrible condition. I never would have found enough “good ones” to cure and will have to wait until next year. I did store your helpful instructions, though. Moments later at the same market, I came upon a sale on mussels. I could almost hear your voice, urging me to buy them. I did and tonight I enjoyed them in a marinara sauce served over fresh pappardelle. I need to step away from the pasta machine and try one of your recipes next time. You always make them look so appetizing.

  4. I’m mad for oysters. Ours come from Marennes – Oleron, and I think they’re pretty wonderful. Just eaten “cru” with lemon or a red wine vinegar and shallot mixture is good for me. A good glass of a fine Sancerre adds the finishing touch. The view across to Sete makes me long for Spring:)

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