Mom's Oyster Patties
Chef's Notes: This is my Mom's recipe for her Oyster Patties. You will notice that she has a completely different style of recipe development and presentation. Thank you.
My First - and I hope not the last - Oyster Recipe Request
I would like to very much thank the person who requested this recipe . I also ask your pardon for the delay.
Oyster patties can be served as an entrée or as a glorified sidedish treat to an elegant or even a mundane dinner.
As a luncheon with a salad and New Orleans style bread pudding with hard whiskey sauce for dessert, its a New Orleans favorite!
As an appetizer, its great!
As a snack - marvelous!
J ust thinking of it makes my salivary glands salivate!
And thats just the beginning!
We were always brought up that oysters should be eaten only during the months with an R in the spelling. This was due to three reasons:
1. The oysters spawn during the months May through August, and, therefore, producing and milky. (They are extremely fat, which is really tempting, during this period);
2. The waters in the Gulf should not be warm, but water temperature should be lower than 90 degrees;
3. Controlled refrigeration back then was not as it is now and the oysters, still in their shells, were prone to spoil easier.
But now is a different story!
Our oyster crop this year is one of the best that I can remember
in the last 25 years or so. This speaks well for the Gulf waters becoming cleaner and our
oyster reefs being less subject to contamination.. This also states that the manner in
which the industry collects its harvest has improved greatly.
Everyday for a few weeks now, at least one of our talk radio hosts have been singing the praises of this years oysters or stating that their lunch or dinner will include this luscious mollusk. I succumbed to this recently, and, while waiting for my fried two soft-shell crab po-boy at the familys favorite seafood restaurant, I had some raw oysters on the halfshell. Oooooh - their praises were greatly understated.
Our patti shells are obtained from a local bakery chain in New Orleans and surrounding Parishes (Counties to the other 49). The bakery is MacKenzie, and their patti shells are baked in three sizes - large, medium and cocktail. For personal and family use, I like the large size. For Halloween or a small party of 30 - 35, the medium is OK, depending on menu. Wedding receptions or such, the cocktail is perfect, as it then becomes finger food.
Oysters per Patti
This is the way I determine the amount of oysters to use, all medium to large in size. The small ones are eaten raw and almost never get to see the inside of any pot.
a) Large patties, about 4 in. across, allow 3 raw oysters to each patti. Cut each oyster in half. If oysters are extra large about 3 inches or over, cut in 3 pieces. Allow about 6 pcs per patti;
b) Medium patties, about 2 1/2 to 3 in. across, allow 2 raw oysters to each patti. Cut each oyster in half. Allow about 4 pcs per patti;
c) Cocktail patties, about 1 1/4 in. across, allow 1 oyster to each patti. Again, cut each oyster in half. Allow about 2 pcs per patti.
Let me preface the rest of this with this note. Although used by
the original Creoles, I do not know if this recipe was developed here or in France.
The following recipe is for two dozen large patties. This is a normal amount for any New Orleans feast of about 20 love-to-eat Orleanians. This is a Must at any of our family celebrations, major or minor, uncelebrations, etc.
Preparation and Recipe of Oysters for Patti Filling
(24 Large Patties)
6 dozen raw oysters (cut in half). This will allow about 6 pcs. of oyster per patti. Also squeeze the juice of about one lemon over oysters as youre cutting and putting in prep bowl;
4 sticks of butter. I use butter to start. A good grade cooking oil can be introduced later if needed. Try to avoid the use of oleo, as it does not lend itself in this dish. Also, do not use olive oil in this recipe, as OO will have a tendency to change the flavor and undermine the flavor of the oysters.
2 bunches fresh young green onions (shallots), cut. Cut by hand. Count should be about 10 stalks to each bunch. Do Not put in processor as hand cut is much prettier ;
About 10 cloves of Fresh garlic, crushed and finely chopped;
About 6 to 8 springs fresh thyme. Slide your fingers along stem of thyme, stripping stem of leaves;
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons;
4 to 5 heaping tbsps or
1 large heaping cooking spoon plain all-purpose flour;
About 1 qt to 1 1/2 qts. Oyster water or liquor as it is known in this area; If the natural oyster liquor is not available then use about 4 to 5 6-to-8 oz bottles clam juice. If you are in an area where you can obtain Fresh-opened raw oysters, ask the oyster shucker Not to wash oysters, and also order an additional 1 qt. oyster liquor.
1 to 1 1/2 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped. Use the flat Spanish parsley. I find this is best in our type of cooking.
About 2 or 3 light dashes of cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce, according to taste (optional);
White pepper to taste. Taste to see if salt is needed. Sometimes the oysters are salty enough themselves.
NOTE: Patti sauce should NOT be peppery or hot in flavor, but rather just a hint of cayenne or Tabasco to underlie and enhance all other seasonings. Please understand, seasonings in our Creole cooking are not used to take over the dish, but are used in conjunction with and to enhance the true flavor of the seafood, meat, or fowl being served. Im sure this is a misconception throughout the cooking medium and even in some well-meaning restaurants, and those calling themselves privy to our way of cooking, but we prefer the use of all our seasonings to be used as Necessary Compliments to any of our recipes.
In this recipe DO Not use an iron Dutch oven, but rather use an
agate or white pot. An iron pot will cause the sauce to be very dark in color, and this
sauce should be oyster white in coloring.
In 5-qt. white Dutch oven melt about 3 sticks of butter. Add cut oysters and saute over med. high heat. This will take a while as the oysters will continually purge their juices. When the juices begin to evaporate and oysters begin to curl, remove oysters immediately to large bowl. Graton will have begun to form at bottom of pan.
At this point, you may have to add the 4th stick of butter and/or possibly about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of a high grade cooking oil such as peanut or canola to begin a roux. (Please see my page Jeannines Song for recipe of roux.) I do not use olive oil in this case as OO will cause a change in flavor. Bring butter and oil up to heat using a medium setting, being careful not to brown or burn.
Add green onions, garlic and thyme. Cook only to point when vegetables get to translucent and limp stage. Add flour , stirring and frying to begin making a very light buttery roux. When flour has been cooked and just before browning stage, the flour mixture should be pasty and creamy in appearance. You do not want a brown or even tan roux in this dish.
At this point, begin adding small amounts of strained oyster liquor or clam juice. As the roux begins to form and bubble into a sauce, add sautéed oysters. Stir in gently, being careful not to crush oyster pieces. Be sure to pour all juices that may have continued to purge and collect in prep bowl into pot.
Once oysters have been reheated - this should take about 1 to 2 minutes - add more oyster liquor or clam juice until desired consistency of sauce is reached. The sauce should not be thin but should have the consistency slightly thicker than a Béchamel sauce, but thin enough to ladle into patti shell. Taste to see if a little more lemon juice is needed to enhance oyster flavor. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste, also dash of cayenne if desired. Continue to cook stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Filling should be very aromatic and oyster -white in color. Remove from heat. DO NOT COVER.
In the meantime, preheat oven to about 350 to 375 degrees and prepare patti shells for serving. If you are using frozen patti shells, the tops will be open. If you can purchase shells from a bakery, then you may have to remove center tops (a small circular piece). You may also be able to bake you own using puff pastry. With your index finger, crush excess pastry inside cavity of shell, being careful not to destroy or break outer walls of shell.
Fill shells with oyster sauce and replace center tops. Place on cookie sheet and put in preheated hot oven. Bake about 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately. These are delicious with anything or alone.
If desired, sauce may be prepared the previous day. After removing from heat, pour filling into a glass bowl and allow to completely cool, uncovered. After cooling period has been completed, sauce then can be covered and placed in refrigerator.
You should retain about a half cup of oyster liquor for this method.
When you are ready to use sauce, remove from refrigerator about an hour before reheating to allow to get to room temperature. On low heat, slowly bring sauce to simmer. You may have to use the extra 1/2 cup of oyster liquor for this. Bring up to simmer and heat thoroughly stirring ever so gently so as not to bruise or break oyster pieces. Fill patties and proceed as in the final part of recipe.
At all times, filling should be hot before ladling or spooning into shells. If desired, sometimes it is pretty to drizzle a small amount of filling over patties when served. Even more elegant, left over sauce may be served from a small silver chafer, allowing each diner to serve himself.
A Menu Suggestion :
As an appetizer: Thinly sliced 2-day old French Bread toasted lightly and blanketed in melted butter and Brie Cheese
Entrée: Oyster Patti, nestled in a cozy nest of
Side dish: Angel Hair pasta, which has been tossed with parsley and a light butter/garlic sauce and also with an extra drizzling of oyster sauce over pasta
Vegetables: Fresh steamed asparagus lightly sautéed with fresh mushrooms in a butter and wine sauce
Salad: A two-green salad of fresh spinach and Boston lettuce with a very light dressing of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. I do not suggest using a vinegar with this meal, as you do not want to confuse the palate, and perhaps negate the delicate flavor of the patties.
Dessert: New Orleans style French Bread pudding with a hard whiskey sauce.
White Wine, New Orleans style Cafe au Lait coffee and chicory
NOTE: This meal may seem to have quite a bit of lemon seasoning to you, but use it sparingly. This menu is developed to compliment the patties, therefore, you do not want to have many different flavors.
I sincerely hope you will enjoy this. Please let me know either way.
Mom recieved a free bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce!
Contact us for further details....ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
Copyright © 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 24, 2012.