Somehow, a host of strong flavors -- ham, crab, oyster, garlic, lemon -- manage to coexist in perfect harmony in this dish, named after a street in New Orleans. You'll need to find oysters in their shells and either shuck them yourself or get the fishmonger to do it.
You'll have some vin blanc sauce left over for other uses. Try drizzling it over green beans, asparagus or other cooked green vegetables.
At Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, 4 of these come as an appetizer order, but we think 2 would be a fine portion.
Servings: 8 oysters
- For the vin blanc
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, cut into small dice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 bunch thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the oysters
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
- 1/2 cup tasso ham, cut into small dice
- 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels, preferably roasted
- Vin blanc (see above)
- 1/4 cup lump crabmeat, picked through to remove shell and cartilage
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups rendered bacon fat
- 8 oysters, shucked, deep bottom shells retained
- Mesclun, for garnish
- Prepared hollandaise sauce or aioli (optional)
For the vin blanc: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent (do not brown), 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has reduced to 3 tablespoons. Add the peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves and cream, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the saucepan from the heat, strain and discard the solids, return the vin blanc sauce to the saucepan and cover to keep warm.
For the oysters: Heat the oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the tasso and corn, and cook to heat through, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium and add half of the vin blanc along with the crabmeat, lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook just enough to heat through; remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Line a plate with a couple layers of paper towels. Heat the bacon fat in a medium saucepan over low heat. When the fat reaches 120 degrees, add the oysters and cook until the gills of the oysters begin to ripple. Transfer the oysters to the paper towels to drain.
To serve, arrange a small bed of mesclun on appetizer plates. Place the oyster shells on top of the greens and spoon equal amounts of the ham-crabmeat mixture into the shells. Top each shell with a poached oyster. If desired, drizzle with hollandaise sauce or aioli, or with a little of the remaining vin blanc.
From Jeff Black, co-owner of Pearl Dive Oyster Palace in Logan Circle.
Tested by Jeffrey Donald.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.