Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Classic oyster recipes

Oysters en Brochette

11/2 tablespoons salt

11/2 teaspoons garlic powder

11/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

11/4 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

About 3/4 pound sliced bacon, cut into 21/2 inch pieces

12 mushroom caps

5 dozen medium to large shucked oysters (about 23/4 pounds)

3/4 cup all purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

Combine salt, seasonings and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Blanch bacon pieces in boiling water about 4 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain.

Place ingredients on 9- to 10-inch metal or wooden skewers as follows: one mushroom cap, then one piece of bacon and one oyster. Continue with bacon and oysters until skewer is almost full, ending with bacon. Then finish the skewer with another mushroom cap.

In pie pan, combine flour with 2 teaspoons of seasoning mix. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the remaining seasoning mix on each filled skewer. In large heavy skillet, heat 5/8-inch oil to 350 degrees. Just before frying, dredge each skewer well in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Fry each skewer in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen (Morrow; $25)

Oyster Stew

11/4 cups cold water

3 dozen small to medium oysters in their liquor, about 18 ounces

1/4 pound unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

2 cups heavy cream

Add water to oysters and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Strain and reserve oysters and oyster water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In large skillet, combine butter, celery, peppers salt and 3/4 cup of the oyster water. Cook over high heat 3 minutes, shaking pan almost constantly. Add remaining 1/2 cup oyster water and continue cooking and shaking pan 1 minute. Stir in green onions. Gradually add cream, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to boil, whisking almost constantly.

Add oysters and cook just until they curl, about 2 to 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and serve, stirring as you ladle portions. Makes 4 main course or 8 appetizer servings.

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen

Broiled Oysters in Champagne Sauce

24 shucked oysters on the half shell

2 tablespoons butter

11/2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup champagne or dry white wine

Pinch cayenne

Salt, to taste

Coarse salt or seaweed

Strain oyster liquor through cheesecloth and reserve 1/2 cup. Discard rest. In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, stir and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add oyster liquor, stirring to remove lumps. Add champagne and stir. Add cayenne and salt and stir until thickened and blended. Cool slightly.

Preheat broiler. Nestle opened oysters on bed of seaweed or coarse salt on cookie sheet or baking pan. Top each oyster with spoonful of sauce. Broil about 4 to 6 inches from heat source just until sauce begins to color, about 2 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings.

Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking (MacMillan; $27.50)

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