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The Hirshon New Orleans Oysters Bienville


  • Author: The Generalissimo

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 slice of fatty bacon, finely chopped (TFD change to recipe, original called for 1 tbsp vegetable oil)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped white mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped garlic
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb cooked shrimp, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sherry (TFD modification – original used brandy)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 2 dozen briny oysters, freshly shucked and the flat sides of the shells reserved
  • Garnish (not meant to be eaten):
  • 1 1/2 cups Rock Salt
  • 3 Crushed Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Whole Cloves
  • 1 tsp Whole Allspice
  • 1 tsp Whole Juniper berries
  • 3 points of Star Anise
  • Lemon wedges wrapped in muslin sleeves, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, cook the bacon to lightly crisp, remove. Sauté the chopped mushrooms for about 4 minutes in the bacon fat, stirring and adding a touch of oil if needed. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, press with another spoon to remove excess liquid and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, melt the butter over low heat and sauté the garlic and shallots for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
  3. Add the diced shrimp and stir to mix, then sprinkle evenly with the flour. Stir together, add the reserved mushrooms and increase heat to medium.
  4. Stirring constantly, deglaze the pan with the sherry. Stir in the cream and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Stir in the bacon, Romano, dry breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, a touch of black pepper and the Cayenne to a soft moundable consistency. A small amount of whole milk may be added if the mixture is too thick.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a glass or ceramic bowl. Cool to room temperature.
  6. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth; set aside. Optionally, put into a pastry bag fitted with a ½” fluted tip and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 ½ hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the oyster shells well and pat dry. Drain the oysters and place one in each of the 24 shells, or use two smaller oysters per shell if necessary.
  8. Mix the Rock Salt with remaining garnish ingredients.
  9. Place the shells in a large, heavy roasting pan lined with a ½-inch layer of garnished rock salt, or place six filled oyster shells in each of four pie pans lined with the garnished rock salt (the rock salt keeps the shells upright during cooking and stops the delicious juices from escaping).
  10. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon equivalent of the piped or spooned Bienville mix and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until nicely browned.
  11. The shells will be extremely hot. Carefully place 6 oysters on each hot dinner plate.
  12. Garnish with a wrapped lemon wedge and serve immediately.
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