Traditionally, for New Year, a lot of French folks do an oyster feast. It's easy to prepare* , a bit luxurious, and delicious with champagne, so what's not to like? Since we tend to eat oysters a couple times a week,** the question was, how to make it a bit different for the reveillon?
Inspiration struck at the market after a visit to the bookstore. I'd just cleaned up on used copies of books by Stendhal, and the Frenchie, who could easily lecture on the guy, found cancales***.
"Oh, we're having cancales for dinner tonight. Absolutely. They're perfect."
Never having heard of these before and not knowing what the heck reference he was making, I asked why.
"They're Stendhalian oysters, of course! In Lucien Leeuwen he references going to Le Rocher de Cancale**** to eat oysters. I absolutely want oysters like Stendhal would have eaten himself in Paris."
So, that's what we're having for dinner tonight: oysters like our favorite writer would have had over on rue Montorgeuil back in the day and a nice, dry Crémant from the Loire Valley to wash them down with.
I can only hope for as good for all my friends; can't imagine better. Happy New Year.
* fishmongers will put together all sorts of plates with everything from oysters to crabs to langoustines and shrimps from all over the world, so no work at all if you want to pay.
** No, we're not high rollers; the Frenchie's Old School. He shucks them himself. I'm not nearly as good as he is, but can hold my own. With a bit more practice, am sure I could get a job somewhere opening oysters.
This in mind, biweekly plates of oysters are much more doable; the ones I like go for roughly 5-6€/dozen.
*** Cancales are like Belons - round and flat with toast colored shells. They are to Paris as Duxburies are to Boston.
**** As of last year, anyway, this restaurant still exists.