Oysters gratin with champagne
There is no better start to your dinner than these oysters. They are grilled with a thick sabayon, made with champagne and tarragon, a superb flavour enhancer. Put a little on the oyster, under the grill and you are ready to serve these delicious amuses.
Heat the oven grill at its highest position. Open the oysters. Protect the hand in which you hold the oyster. You can use an oyster glove, but a tea towel works equally well. Hold the flat side of the oyster to the top with the hinge facing you. It is easiest to open an oyster with an oyster knife. You insert that into the hinge. Twist calmly with a rotating movement of your wrist. As soon as the oyster opens, you cut the closing muscle by scraping the knife along the flat side. Cut the oyster loose from the underside and remove it from the shell. Keep the oyster meat separate and reserve the liquid. Sieve to remove any shell grit. Keep the shells. Bring the champagne with the tarragon leaves to the boil in a sauce pan. Leave to infuse for approximately 5 minutes over a low heat. Sieve the liquid. Bring a pan of water to the boil and put a heat-proof bowl on top. Add the mixture of the wine and tarragon, 3 small spoonfuls of oyster juice and the egg yolks to the bowl. Gradually whisk in the clarified butter until you have a thick sabayon. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Put the oyster meat in a sauce pan with the remaining oyster juice and heat for 1-2 minutes, make sure you don't heat them for too long. Put the deep side of the oyster shells on an oven tray. Put the oysters in the shells and spoon some sabayon on top. Oysters that fall over or from which the sabayon is running can be supported with a flat oyster shell. Put under the grill and grill for 3-5 minutes or until the oysters are golden brown. Serve with a glass of champagne.
Tip! If you do not have a fine sieve or cloth? Put a sheet of kitchen towel in your colander and that works equally well for catching any grit.
Serves: 6 to 8
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