Oyster Patties (Kristine Froeba)
No culinary topic in New Orleans evokes quite the response that Oyster Patties do. The mention of the dish by New Orleanians causes instant sensory memory— “Ah, Oyster Patties!” They begin by telling you who in their family made them, how they were made, and over which particular holiday the Oyster Patty held sway. The conversation rapidly turns to family recipes. Next is the ubiquitous reminiscing over McKenzie’s Bakery. Then a pause, finally, when the idea dawns: “Hmmm, who’s still making the shells?” Happily, they are still available.
The New Orleans Oyster Patty tradition harkens back to Creole New Orleans. The origins of the French dish entered the New Orleans lexicon of cooking as far back as the 1840s. It was already a mainstay of Creole entertaining long before the turn of the century. Bouchées d’Huitres are documented in New Orleans’ cookbooks as early as 1922. Oyster Bouchées, Oyster Vol-Au-Vents, or as they have come to be known, Oyster Patties, continue to be a mainstay in New Orleans entertaining and holiday meals. Continue reading »