Oyster Ritual


I come from a long line of oyster lovers, and we love to reconnect in the kitchen.  My brother’s a chef, and when I’m in need of inspiration for my next oyster painting, he drops by with a new recipe, and we catch up while we cook.  My sister and sister-in-law join in, and we bond over butter, carbs, and oysters…what’s not to love?

Even after all the hours in my studio creating new paintings and hand making each one of my art prints, I never get tired of oysters, oyster pictures, oyster recipes, and my brother’s cooking.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes of his:


12 oysters - shucked and reserve liqueur

1 quart of lightfish stock [ made from boiling white meat fish ,lemon slices and a pinch of sea salt.

1-1/2 shiitake mushrooms - cleaned

1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots

1 large clove of minced garlic

Olive oil as needed

2 cups or Arborio or medium grain rice

1/2 bottle of champagne

2/3 cup of parmesan cheese

4 tsp of butter

1/8 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tsp fresh thyme

sprinkle of nutmeg

1/2 cup of light cream

1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper

Fine-chopped scallions for garnish.


In a heavy bottom pot, place 2 tsp of butter and olive oil on medium heat, add minced garlic and shallots. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook. Remove mushrooms and set aside. Cook garlic & shallots until translucent. Add champagne and reduce by half. Add rice.  Add 2 cups of fish stock or chicken. Bring to a boil and recue heat -stirring frequently!

Add thyme, nutmeg and black pepper, continued stirring until rice takes on a creamy like texture.

Add Parmesan, 2 tsp butter, light cream and parsley. Continue to stir. Once rice is tender add oysters , cooked shiitakes and some of the reserved oyster liqueur. Stir gently and serve quickly. Garnish with fine chopped scallions.

Chef Philipe Robbins

One of my brother’s favorite aspects of this recipe is its texture.  He said, “It’s the most delectable creamy, sweet, briny party in your mouth!  The softness of the grains of rice covered in a sweet & salty veloute, with bites of mushroom and the softness of a briny oyster, blend together beautifully.  This is a simple recipe that plays with your oral senses!”

As a visual person, I always take the time to document our cooking sessions.  I take pictures of oysters as I shuck them.  I enjoy the way the light changes as we cook over the course of an afternoon or evening. 

Have pictures of your oyster recipes?  I’d love to see them!