Lent in New Orleans, for many people, means upholding the Catholic tradition of eating no meat on Fridays. Luckily for us, New Orleans seafood is the exception to this rule, and when paired with delicious vegetarian options, most folks never know what they’re missing. Early March is the perfect time to warm up with a bowl of steaming potato soup, topped off with mouth-watering fried Gulf oysters. This week’s recipe comes to us courtesy of Louisiana Culinary Trails. Created by Chef Minh Le of Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant in Houma, Louisiana, this creamy soup is an indulgent treat.
- 3 slices bacon cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cups diced Yukon gold or baking potatoes
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- liquor drained from 1 pint Gulf oysters
- fresh herbs – thyme, chives, parsley – of choice
- 1 quart oil for frying
- 1 pint Gulf oysters, drained, liquor reserved
- Louisiana style hot sauce
- pre-packaged fish fry of choice
Place a gallon-sized stockpot over medium heat. Add bacon and render until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add butter and onions to stockpot and sauté until onions are soft. Add garlic, potatoes, chicken stock and seasonings. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes. Add heavy cream and oyster liquor and return to a boil for 4 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and top each with 3 or 4 oysters. Garnish with reserved bacon and fresh herbs.
Heat oil to 350ºF. Coat oysters with hot sauce and salt to taste.
Place 2 or 3 oysters at a time in fish fry and coat them thoroughly before adding to hot oil.
Cook until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Chef’s Note: Soup may be made 1 day in advance, but oysters must be cooked immediately before serving.