ROASTED MALPECQUE OYSTERS WITH CHAMPAGNE
2 medium leeks, white and light
green parts only, very thinly sliced
24 Malpecque or other meaty oysters, scrubbed well
4 shallots, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
5 black peppercorns, crushed
6 mushrooms, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup brut Champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and
the leeks. Blanch the leeks until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain,
then rinse with very cold water, then drain again. Set aside.
Open the oysters, and remove them from their shells, reserving all
their liquid. Set aside the bottom cuplike portion of each shell,
and discard the flat top.
To make the sauce, combine the oysters and their liquid in a medium
saute pan. Place over medium-high heat until the edges of the
oysters begin to curl, 1 to 2 minutes; do not overcook. Using a
slotted spoon, transfer the oysters to a small bowl. Continue to
cook the oyster liquid until it has been reduced to 1 or 2 tablespoons.
Remove the liquid from the heat, and set it aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine shallots, garlic, peppercorns,
mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf, Champagne, fish stock and reduced oyster
liquid. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced and thickened
enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 or 20 minutes. Add the cream,
and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until the
sauce is again reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
Pour the sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard the
solids. Add lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the
egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking vigorously, add about
1/2 cup of the sauce to the yolks. Pour the yolk mixture back into
the bowl of sauce, and set aside.
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place oyster shells on a cookie sheet,
and place one oyster in each shell. Divide the leeks equally over
the oysters, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the
sauce equally among the shells, pouring it over the leeks. Roast
the oysters until hot and browned on top, 8 to 10 minutes. If the
oysters are hot but not browned, they may be placed under a hot
broiler for 1 minute. Serve six oysters to a person on oyster
plates or on flat plates, using seaweed, rock salt or watercress
to steady them.