OYSTERS NONESUCH

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We were in Louisiana for Christmas to visit our niece and her family. She took us to spend a day in the French Quarter where we had these marvelous oysters that had been broiled with herbs and parmesan cheese on them.

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I had on insisted on ordering the broiled oysters instead of the raw oysters, since I was pretty sure I would not like the raw oysters.

My niece and great-niece agreed that the broiled oysters were good but they kept telling me how much better the raw oysters were. Well, I finally gave them a try. After all, they were fresh off of the boat. Oh my, I am a convert!

IMG_2942We ate all that we could while we were there, knowing that once we got home to Kentucky, fresh off the boat oysters were not going to be readily available.

What we did have available were Oysters from Washington State. We bought the few remaining containers that we could find at Krogers. Now how to fix them. I wanted to do something that resembled the broiled oysters that we had in the French Quarter. Then I remembered the Oysters Rockfeller that we had eaten sometime in the past.

I looked up the recipe in Oysters, A True Delicacy, by Shirley Line, 1995 and in my Joy of Cooking, 1975.  It turns out that Oysters Rockfeller were first served at ANTOINE’S Restaurant, in the French Quarter, in 1899.  You can read all about it here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oysters_Rockefeller

We are definitely going there the next time we are down that way. Anyway, Antoine’s has never released the recipe, so, all printed recipes are just an approximation of the real thing. Why is this important?

Well, after reading the two recipes that I had, I realized that I did not have 12 freshly opened oysters, Pernod, fresh spinach or Gruyere cheese.

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Here’s what I did have and used to create my version of “OYSTERS NONESUCH”

IMG_2823Two, 8 ounce containers of Willapoint Oysters

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Enough fresh onions from the garden to equal about 1/4 cup of finely chopped onions.

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A twelve ounce package of frozen Lamb’s Quarter and Beet greens. You can easily use a 12 ounce package of frozen spinach.

RECIPE:

Open the oysters and drain all of the liquor into a small bowl.

To the bowl add:

1/4 cup of heavy cream

about 1TBL minced garlic 

1TBL fennel seed

A heavy dash of tobasco sauce or more to taste

Thaw and finely chop the greens.

Grate a cup of Peccorino/ Romano or other hard cheese that you like.

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PROCESS:

Place about 2TBL ghee  (ksrquilter.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/clarified-butter-ghee) into a hot, iron skillet. 

Add the chopped onions and sautee them until they are soft

Add the chopped spinach, heavy cream, oyster liquor, fennel seed, garlic and tabasco to the spinach and heat thoroughly.

Not having any oyster shells on hand, I used a pie plate.  I also decided that I’d rather have the  oysters on top of the spinach with the cheese directly grated onto them.

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Oysters nestled in the spinach just starting to be be covered with grated cheese.

Spoon the spinach mixture into the pie plate. Be sure to add all the liquid that is in the skillet.  Nestle each of the oysters into depressions in the spinach.  Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the oysters being sure to cover them.

Place under a hot broiler. Now here’s the tricky part. The broiling time depends on how hot your broiler may be.

I started checking the oysters after 3 minutes. It took about 5-7 minutes for the cheese to brown and bubble, and for the oysters to cook all the way through.  These were big oysters. There were only about 4 in each container, but they filled the pie plate. Smaller oysters won’t take as much time to cook.

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Serve with a sparkling white wine.  I started the meal with a bowl of Winter Squash/Carrot Soup topped with toasted and chopped pecans.

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One more culinary delight on our trip to Louisiana was fixed by our nephew. He used my recipe for Gluten free fried oysters and made us deep fried oysters and shrimp. Wonderful!

You can find the recipe here: ksrquilter.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/fried-oysters/

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Wishing you Joyful Cooking

Karen

Cooking with Joy

Cooking with Joy

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