Twenty years ago or so, an european person would have told you to ONLY eat seafood *1 during the months that contain a "R". i.e. September to December. It is a well known fact that 90% of the seafood was sold during these months.
Though it is true that the best season for harvesting seafood is in the winter, with both the water temperature and health risks being lower. Our advice is that you smell the unopened shells - any non-sea smells or if in doubt, - discarded them. Throughout the world food poisoning is still prevalent. Be cautious.
The oysters, for example, are at the moment, plentiful, rich in flavour and taste.
While oysters from a supermarket are excellent, buy them if possible direct from a marine farm or seafood harvester - this gives you the freshest tang and taste. But be warned, once you have done this, you will be obliged to continue this purchasing habit.
Oyster eating can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and are now eaten everwhere in the world, close to seawater.
- Some people prefer them raw, with a drop of lemon or balsamic vinagar with shallots.
- Other people prefer them "Mornay" or "Kilpatrick".
- Today I am going to offer you another way to prepare this delicacy.
This unusual way to cook them keeps the taste and essence of the oysters, and adds different fantastic flavours.
It is what "cuisine" is all about
mixing ingredients to get the palate to savour these aromas,tastes,and textures.
The dish this month is called:
Oysters in Spinach & Champagne*3 sauce.
- 12 oysters: large size with deep shell
- 400 g spinach: english
- 3 shallots:
- 2 cups cream: full
- 60 g mozzarella: grated
- olive oil
- 250 ml champagne:
- salt & cracked black pepper to taste.
- Remove oysters from their shells, Keep both the shells and flesh, do not rinse or drain.
- In a pan:
Pour 6 table spoons of olive oil. Heat gently -- do not overheat*2
Add very finely cut shallots and roughly cut spinach.
Salt and pepper.cook for 3 to 4 minutes stir regularly.
Put on low heat to keep warm.
- In a saucepan:
Pour in the champagne,
Immediately add the cream. Do not boil.
Add salt and pepper.
The mixture must be reduced by a quarter.
- In the original pan:
Add 3 table spoons of olive oil, and with the gentle heat, cook the oysters for 30 seconds each side.
- Now comes the dresser le plat stage. Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a oven proof dish place aluminium foil, so that we can keep the oysters straight. In each empty shell, place an oyster.
Cover each of them with the sauce from the saucepan.
Cover the whole dish with the spinach and shallots from the pan, finally, add the mozzarella as a lid or topping.
Put the dish in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the mozzarella melts and browns.
- Eat as soon as possible. Must be eaten hot.
To drink with this delicious dish?
Not an easy choice -- but Charming Creek Adventures recommends a Chardonnay SERESIN -2000 reserve. It is our wine of the month.
Enjoy it but in moderation.
I hope you will appreciate your Oysters in Spinach & Champagne*3 sauce.
I take this opportunity to send my regards to my students of a few years ago, when I was teaching "French Cuisine" at the Alliance Francaise in Auckland, New Zealand.
Have you any cuisine ideas?
Have you any cuisine questions you wish to ask?
If you wish to tell us what you think of the above recipe, please email Charming Creek Adventures
Send me your opinions, your questions, your ideas.
Rendez vous next month for a new receipe.
*1 Seafood as written here - means sea life in a shell. Oysters, mussels, winkles
*2 Olive oil very hot or boiling becomes spoilt
*3 or a good white wine