Oysters Bienville

Created by “Count” Arnaud Cazenave, founder of Arnaud’s restaurant.

  • 2/3 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 pound boiled shrimp, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
  • 2 dozen oysters on the half shell, drained
  • rock salt

Shuck oysters and reserve meat; save shells. Thoroughly wash oyster shells and pat dry.

In a large, heavy saucepan, sautee the mushrooms in the oil. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt the butter and sautee garlic and shallots until tender. Add the shrimp, then sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly. Add the mushrooms. Continue stirring and add brandy to deglaze pan. Stir in the cream and cook until smooth.

Add the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley; salt, pepper and cayenne. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk and whisk to blend.

Remove from heat, allow to cool then refrigerate for about 1 1/2 hours.

In a saucepan, simmer oysters in water just until edges curl. Remove from heat. Spread rock salt in a layer about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep over the bottom of 4 pie pans.

Put oysters on shells and place six in each pan of rock salt. Spoon one heaping tablespoon of sauce over each oyster. Broil until golden brown and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes.

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