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Oyster Soup Fresh From Pearl Lagoon

Even if you can't get your hands on oysters fresh from the ocean, this soup from Pearl Lagoon will be a tasty dish to warm you during the cold months.


Photo: Courtesy of Vicki Basman

Mr. Orlando and Basman paddled a canoe to a small island in the Pearl Lagoon basin to collect fresh oysters.

Watery Foraging

Vicki Basman lived like a local when she visited the Pearl Lagoon basin on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Her new cookbook Pearls From The Lagoon highlights traditional recipes and tells the stories of the people who taught them to her.

One of her most memorable afternoons was spent in a canoe with Mr. Orlando fishing for oysters. They paddled for well over an hour to a small island in the lagoon where he collected handful upon handful of oysters.

“Every now and then, he would get his machete and open one and slide one down, like we might eat persimmons we pick from the tree,” says Basman.

Improvisational Soup

When they returned, Mr. Orlando and his wife went right to work opening up the oysters and collecting ingredients for a soup. Like every cook in Pearl Lagoon, they didn’t rely on a fixed recipe. Instead, they improvised the soup depending on what ingredients they had on hand.

For instance, Mr. Orlando had planned to include potatoes, but his wife returned from the store with bananas instead because there were no potatoes in stock. “The recipe was altered right then,” says Basman. “This is truly the Pearl Lagoon way of doing things!”

We encourage you to follow your inspiration when making this dish!

Mr. Orlando And Miss Idalia


  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups raw oysters
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peels and sliced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 slightly green banana, cut into chunks
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring coconut milk and chicken stock to a boil. Add oysters and boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the potato and carrots are tender. Salt and pepper to taste

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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