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  Added: Jan 24, 2007  •  Visited (502)  •  Print version Print this recipe (56)  •  eMail recipe eMail recipe  •  Write review  •  Not rated Rate this recipe
Oysters Bienville
These richly sauced oysters were named in honor of Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, the French colonial governor of Louisiana who founded New Orleans in 1718.

What You Need:
  • Rock salt
  • 2 dozen large oysters, shucked, with all their liquor and the deeper halves of their shells reserved
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp
  • 1½ pounds fresh mushrooms, trimmed, wiped with a dampened towel and coarsely chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped scallions, including 3 inches of the green tops
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leaf Italian variety
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup American sauterne
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons ground hot red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 or 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

  • How To Cook:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the rock salt to a depth of about ½ inch in four 8- or 9-inch pie pans. Arrange the pans on two large baking sheets and set them on the middle shelf of the oven to heat the salt while you prepare the oysters.

    2. Drain the oysters and their liquor through a fine sieve lined with a double thickness of dampened cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Measure and reserve 1½ cups of the oyster liquor. (If there is less than 1½ cups, add enough water to make that amount.)

    3. Transfer the oysters to a bowl and set them aside. Scrub the oyster shells thoroughly with a stiff brush, then pat them dry with paper towels.

    4. Shell the shrimp. Devein them by making a shallow incision down their backs with a small sharp knife and lifting out the black or white intestinal vein with the point of the knife. Wash the shrimp briefly in a sieve or colander set under cold running water and pat them completely dry with paper towels.

    5. Put the shrimp, mushrooms, bacon, scallions, parsley and garlic through the finest blade of a food grinder. In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat.

    6. When the foam begins to subside, add the shrimp mixture and, stirring frequently, cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until almost all of the liquid that accumulates in the pan has evaporated.

    7. Add the flour and mix well. Then, stirring constantly, gradually pour in the sauterne, the milk and the reserved 1½ cups of oyster liquor, and cook over moderate heat until the sauce comes to a boil, thickens heavily and is smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to remove the raw taste of the flour.

    8. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, red pepper and salt. Beat in the egg yolks and, if you wish, add 2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring to give the sauce a brighter color.

    9. With a rubber spatula, scrape the entire contents of the skillet into the jar of an electric blender and blend at medium speed until the mixture is a smooth puree.

    10. Arrange six oyster shells attractively in each of the salt-lined pans and place an oyster in each shell. Spoon the sauce over the oysters, dividing it equally among them. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the oysters begin to curl at the edges.

    11. Serve the oysters Bienville at once, directly from the baking pans.

        While the bed of salt helps to keep the shells from tipping and, if heated beforehand, will keep the oysters hot, it is not indispensable to the success of the dish.
        You may, if you like, bake the oysters in any shallow baking pan or pans large enough to hold the shells in one layer, and serve them from a heated platter.
    To Serve: 4
    This recipe is also available in:
    Cuisine » Americas » Creole
    Main Ingredient » Shellfish » Oysters
    Main Ingredient » Shellfish » Shrimps
    Main Ingredient » Mushrooms
    Dish » Appetizers


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