01 January 2016

Bonne année 2016

In France, people always wait until January 1, at the earliest, to say « bonne année », and around Saint-Aignan they often add « et surtout, bonne santé ». Officially, we have until the end of January to express our good wishes — « meilleurs vœux » — for 2016. I've now expressed mine to you.


New Year's Eve for us means oysters, so here are five photos of ours. Walt bought two dozen oysters of medium size (numéro 3 on a scale that goes from 5, the smallest, down to 1, the largest) for about 12 €. We steamed the open — most of them — this year, except for half a dozen that I shucked so we could try them raw on the half-shell. In the photo above, you can see that the one in the foreground on the right has started to open up. It's ready to be removed from the steamer. See this Wiki-How web page  for information about cooking oysters.


These are the farmed oysters called « fines de claires » — they are fattened in saltwater ponds on the coast down near the Ile d'Oléron for weeks or months before they are brought to market.


We are lucky to have a fish and seafood vendor who drives up from the Oléron area to Saint-Aignan every week, bringing us the freshest seafood you can imagine. I blogged about the seafood at the market a few weeks ago here.


The last two photos are before and after shots. Steaming them open doesn't fundamentally alter the taste or texture of the oysters — they are not cooked but more or less mi-cuites, like a good foie gras. And it's a lot safer than risking stabbing yourself in the hand with the oyster knife when you shuck them raw.

22 comments:

GaynorB said...

Bonne année et bonne santé!

Susan said...

Happy New Year. The thing that gets me about oyster prep is not that I am in danger of stabbing myself, but all the potential for getting shellgrit in the oyster. Yuk! And this is a problem that is only set to get worse as oysters struggle to make shell in an acidifying ocean. I'm definitely going to try your steaming method next time round.

Diogenes said...

Happy New Year!

That seems to be a very reasonable price for that amount of oysters. Grace Jones tour rider specifies, as I recently read, in addition to other items: "2 Dozen Findeclare or Colchester Oysters on ice (unopened)—(Grace does her own shucking.) If you want to see the rider in its entirety:

http://defamer.gawker.com/grace-does-her-own-shucking-heres-grace-joness-tour-1732809207

Ken Broadhurst said...

In North Carolina, we always ate oysters steamed. And I agree with you about the little slivers or flakes of shell that end up in the oysters. Very unpleasant. I open the raw oysters from the hinge end, not the front end, which shatters easily, but still...

Ken Broadhurst said...

Merci Gaynor. À toi et à Tim, de même. Bonne année.

Travel said...

Happy New Year! Good wishes for the coming year!

Carolyn said...

Happy new year to you and Walt and all your readers.

I enjoy everyone's comments and usually learn something. By now I almost feel like I know some of you.

May 2016 be a good year for the world.

We're having pork and sauerkraut today, the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch NYD dinner. We enjoy it even though we're not Penna Dutch.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Happy New Year to you, and all best wishes for 2016, Carolyn. I would love to taste that pork and sauerkraut.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Happy New Year to you too.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks for that. I'd love to see a video of GJ shucking an oyster. HNY.

Gosia k said...

delicious meal

Olivier Bailleux said...

Bonne année :-).

Diogenes said...

Ask and ye shall receive. Here is a clip of Grace shucking oysters on Alan Carr's talk show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmGozjpBvXQ

Susan said...

I open them from the hinge too, but this year's lot were thoroughly disobligingly flaky.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Oui, bonne année, Olivier. Meilleurs vœux pour 2016.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I hope you have enjoyed the holidays. Happy 2016 to you.

The Beaver said...

Bonne et Heureuse année à Ken and his blog followers :-)

After a mild Xmas , we have experienced a white New year's eve and day. It was not too cold to roast the bird on the BBQ's grill. We had 39 cms of the white stuff on Tuesday - all day long it was coming down.

Bob F said...

Happy New Year and especially good health to you and Walt. May the world be your oyster, literally and figuratively.

It's likely going to be a raucous year in the U.S.

Galestorm said...

Happy New Year to you and Walt! Those oysters look delicious and mouth watering. I was invited to an oyster roast in Sneads Ferry last night, but it was suppose to be another rainy evening and I did not want to get out and about.

Well, I've got to go make a pan of cornbread to go with my black-eyed peas. I debated on the collards, but decided I would let them grow a little bit more. All the best to you and Walt in 2016!

PS. I woke up this morning around 3:00 am and read your blog on my iPad before going back to sleep. The oysters looked delicious at that time of the day!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Bonne année 2016 à toi, N., et toute la famille. Santé, bonheur, paix. I think you're right about 2016 in the States. France has had a weird 2015. I hope things here settle down for a while. Then we'll have our presidential election, with FN fury for sure.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Happy New Year, Galestorm. Hope your black-eyes were good. I hope my luck in France will be assured by the white beans I cooked. Those were good oysters we got.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Brrrrr.