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Paul Prudhomme's Oysters Florentine


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"If you don't love life you can't enjoy an oyster; there is a shock of freshness
to it and intimations of the ages of man, some piercing intuition of the sea
and all its weeds and breezes.  [They] shiver you for a split second."
~ Eleanor Clark

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La Belle Cuisine


Oysters Florentine

Chef Paul Prudhomme's
Louisiana Tastes:
Exciting Flavors from
the State That Cooks
Paul Prudhomme, 2000, William Morrow
and Company, Inc.

Makes 4 servings

“ ‘Florentine’ implies spinach, and indeed this dish combines tender oysters
with that wonderful green.  Cooked in a savory cream sauce and served over
pasta, oysters have never had it so good! We used baby spinach, which has
leaves only 1 to 3 inches long and very small stems, but if it’s unavailable,
 use regular spinach and simply remove all the stems and tear the leaves
into 1-inch pieces.”

Seasoning Mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon ground dried
Anaheim chile peppers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
 1 gallon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces uncooked pasta (penne or
your favorite pasta)
1 pint shucked oysters in their liquor
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped fire-roasted onions *
2 tablespoons chopped fire-roasted garlic *
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 cups heavy cream

1. Combine the Seasoning Mix ingredients in a small bowl.
2. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the
salt and the olive oil, then add the pasta. Stir the pasta briefly to keep
it from sticking together, then cook to the al dente stage. Drain the
pasta in a colander, then run cold water over it until it is cool to the
touch. Drain off all excess water, then sprinkle the pasta with 2 tea-
spoons of the Seasoning Mix and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
3. Drain the liquid from the oysters and reserve the oysters and the liquid.
4. In a 5-quart pot, melt butter over high heat. When the butter melts and
begins to sizzle, add the roasted onions and garlic and the remaining
seasoning mix. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are brown
and have a glazed appearance, about 4 to 5 minutes. All the flavors
hit at once, with a strong taste of salt. Note the rich undertone of
roasted flavors from the garlic and onions. Stir in 1/2 cup of the
reserved oyster liquor, then add the spinach. Continue to cook, stir-
ring frequently, until the spinach cooks down and the liquid bubbles
like little volcanoes, about 4 minutes. Note the sweetness of the
onions and garlic, and the developing brown color and flavor from
the caramelizing process. Also present is a faint taste of oyster
from the cooking liquid.
5. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. If the cream thins out as it
heats, continue cooking until it thickens again before proceeding. If
it remains thick, go immediately to the next step. Reduce the heat
to medium and add the oysters. Watch the oysters carefully, which
is a bit hard to do, as they are somewhat hidden in the sauce. Pick
one up with a slotted spoon to check the progress. When they begin
to curl and show a series of pleated folds on their sides, about 2
minutes, they are cooked. Remove from the heat and serve over
the pasta.

* Roasting – Roasting chile peppers, bell peppers, onions, or garlic gives
them a wonderful smoky flavor that cannot be achieved any other way.
If you have a gas stove, place the vegetables directly in the flame and
let it roast, turning frequently with tongs, until skin is blistered and
charred all the way around and gives off a distinctly roasted aroma.
Hold the vegetable under cold running water to stop the cooking,
then remove the black skin, which slips off very easily...
If your stove is electric, you can roast vegetables in a preheated 500-
degree F oven, turning them so they roast evenly, then hold under
running water to remove the skins.

Featured Archive Recipes
(Chef Paul Prudhomme):
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Blackened Redfish
Cajun Popcorn
Chicken and Andouille Smoked
Sausage Gumbo

Eggplant Bayou Teche
Seafood Dirty Rice

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