Oysters and Artichokes – yay or nay?


My guess is that you will be in one of two camps about today’s recipe, love it or leave it.  That’s because Oyster and Artichoke Soup (pg 37) is an intriguing combination of very distinct flavors that will likely thrill you or chill you.

The easiest of the five recipes in the chapter, the soup can be made in almost any season, as it calls for jarred preshucked oysters (I used Willapa Bay) and canned artichoke hearts – but I’m sure you could try fresh ingredients to see what flavor changes you might find.

As Becky notes in the book, oysters (wild or farmed) are a great sustainable choice because they are filter feeders, improve ocean quality and require no wild fish meal.  They are a healthy shellfish choice, rating high in several important vitamins and tons of Omega-3 fatty acids.

While I love a good fresh oyster on the half shell, I was less excited about my final version of this soup – although I really wanted to like it!  The other ingredients – celery, mushrooms, cream, lemon, tarragon – sounded like a heavenly combo with the oysters and artichokes, but the concoction just didn’t quite work for me.  And I’m reticent to admit that, because I know what a fabulous chef Becky is and how much time she spent on each recipe in Good Fish – and who wants to piss off the chef, right??

But I also believe there’s “different strokes for different folks” and while I’m not a food critic by any stretch of the imagination, this blog’s purpose was to share with you what I discovered in Good Fish as I cooked all 75 recipes.  I will add that Becky’s headnote to the recipe does say “when my friend said she wanted to try a recipe for oyster and artichoke soup, I admit I wrinkled my nose…”  However, she found that “the oyster’s sweet, soft brininess is a seafood sister to artichoke’s creamy yet firm vegetal quality.”  I didn’t quite get that, but if I try this recipe again, I’d like to blend it all together into creamy goodness, rather than as written, just to see if I could find that ideal blend of flavors that Becky intended.

So what do you think – oysters and artichokes, friends or foes??

NEXT UP: My discovery of The Fresh Fish Co. in Ballard, and the first tries with black cod and smoked trout!



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Copyright 2011 Karen Rosenzweig