Oyster and Sausage Bisque

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

This was an improvisation: Planning to make oyster bisque at my friend Betty’s house in New York one night, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have enough oysters. The fish market was closed, but I remembered that, in Bordeaux, oysters are often accompanied by little chipolata sausages, and found not chipolatas but good homemade Italian sausage at a butcher shop nearby. I think the combination works quite nicely.


  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 shallots, peeled and minced
  • ½ celery rib, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage, removed from casings and chopped or crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pint freshly shucked small oysters (20 to 25), liquor reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter to which a few drops of oil have been added. Add shallots and celery and cook until very soft. Add tomato paste and stir well, then add sausage. Cook for about 5 minutes, then dust contents of pan with flour, stir again, and add half-and-half.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened. Add oysters and their liquor and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more and serve.