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RECIPE: Christmas Oysters

Marinated with some heat, garnished with red and green, we could eat a dozen of these Christmas oysters. Photo courtesy Louisiana Seafood.


Oysters are a treat at any time of the year.

The old advice to avoid them except in months that end in “r” came from the time before refrigeration, to avoid potential spoilage in the warmer spring and summer months.

“Christmas oysters” are garnished in red and green for a festive Christmas appetizer.

To warm up the holiday season, the recipe below, from Louisiana Seafood, has a bit of heat—which is how they like things in Louisiana.

If you don’t like heat, substitute green bell pepper for the jalapeño and eliminate the hot sauce.

The recipe calls for Louisiana oysters, but you can use any variety that are fresh and appealing. Our personal preference is for jumbo Pacific oysters from Willapa Oysters—the larger and meatier the oyster, the happier we are.



  • 72 Lousiana oysters or substitute, freshly shucked*
  • 1-1/2 cups red onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons jalapeño, thinly sliced, no seeds
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Crushed ice, kosher salt, shredded red and white cabbage or other medium for plating


    1. CLEAN shells and shuck oysters. Strain and reserve liquid. Reserve bottom half of shell; discard top half.

    2. COMBINE oyster liquid, red onions, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice, lime zest, tomatoes, hot sauce and olive oil. Add oysters and marinate for 5-7 minutes.

    3. ARRANGE oyster shells on a bed of ice or kosher salt (it’s much less expensive to use in bulk than coarse sea salt). We prefer shredded red cabbage with some white cabbage mixed in—it’s more festive for the holidays (you can shred it in the food processor or slice it thinly with a knife) and you can eat it with some lemon juice or cocktail sauce. Place 1 oyster on each shell and top with cherry tomato half, red onions, 1 slice of jalapeño, some juice from marinade and a couple of crystals of sea salt.


    Growing oysters off the coast of Louisiana. Photo courtesy Louisiana Seafood News.


    4. GARNISH with fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
    Find more of our favorite seafood recipes.

    *Any oysters eaten raw must be freshly shucked, to avoid bacteria build-up.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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