Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oysters Bienville

Gil recently bought some fresh Morro Bay oysters from, surprisingly, our local Albertson's supermarket. There's a great Oysters Bienville recipe in Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico cookbook and I adapted it with a tad less bacon and salt for this preparation. I'd say they're better than Oysters Rockefeller!

Here's the intro to the recipe in Emeril's cookbook: "Both Antoine's and Arnaud's, two other long-established New Orleans restaurants, are said to have originated this local baked oyster favorite. No matter who named it, it is a tribute to Sieur de Bienville, Jean Baptiste le Moyne, French founder of the City of New Orleans."

The sauce is super delish, easy to make, and a perfect complement to the oysters. My only deviation from the recipe was to use 3 strips of bacon rather than 4, and to eliminate the salt altogether. A great appetizer, especially when paired with Almond Champagne from our local Wilson Creek Winery in nearby Temecula. 


2 dozen fresh oysters, shucked & drained (reserve the deeper bottomed shells of the oysters)
2 boxes of rock salt

3 strips of thick cut bacon, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
1/2 lb. chopped medium shrimp
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cayenne pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion has softened and begun to turn translucent.  

2. Add the butter and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.

3. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to form a roux (do not brown). Add the milk and white wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. 

4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the chopped mushrooms and shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the grated parmesan, lemon juice, chopped green onions and parsley and stir until just blended. 

5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the beaten egg yolks. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. 

6. Shuck the oysters and place each in the deeper bottomed shells. 

7. Preheat the oven to 400F.

8. Pour about 1/2" of rock salt into a baking sheet. Set the oysters in shell on the rock salt. 

9. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon of the sauce (spread the sauce to the edges to completely cover the oyster). 

10. Bake the oysters until the sauce is bubbly and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. 

11. Use tongs to remove the oysters to a serving platter lined with rock salt (the salt will keep the oysters in place). Serve with lemon wedges on the side. 

Chopped shrimp, garlic, onion, mushrooms, bacon, parsley and scallions.  

White wine, egg yolks, cayenne, parmesan cheese, milk, lemon juice, and flour. 

Pan fry the bacon until just crisp.  

Add the chopped onion and cayenne pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the butter and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. 

Stir in the flour to make a roux. Do not brown. 

Stir in the milk and white wine and bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to medium low and add the shrimp and mushrooms. Cook for several minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the parmesan, scallions, lemon juice and parsley. 

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the beaten egg yolks.  

Let the mixture cool to room temperature.  

Clean the oysters. 

Gil, shucking the oysters.  

Place the oysters on a rock salt-lined baking sheet and top with a generous tablespoon of the filling. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and lightly browned.  

Serve on a platter lined with rock salt to keep the oyster shells from slipping around. 

A glass of champagne on the side never hurts...

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