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Saffron Oysters with Leeks



"The oyster. The mere writing of the word creates sensations of succulence. Gastronomical pleasures, nutritive fare, easy digestion, palatable indulgence."
~ Lucullus

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 Still Life with Leeks
Still Life with Leeks
Hoile, Wendy
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Saffron Oysters with Leeks
Food & Wine Archives

“Any oysters that don't open during cooking should be removed from the
saucepan and opened with an oyster  knife. As long as they were tightly
closed before cooking, they will be fine to eat.”

Servings: 3 to 4 first-course servings

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons semidry white wine,
preferably Sémillion
1/2 cup water
1 dozen Bluepoint or other good-sized oysters
such as Cape Cod, scrubbed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small leeks, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon (packed) saffron threads
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg yolk

 Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 hour ahead;
let stand at room temperature. 

1. In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the wine with the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Using tongs, add the oysters to the saucepan in a single layer, cover and steam until they start to open, about 3 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a plate as they open. Reserve the
cooking liquid; you should have about 1/2 cup. Remove the oysters from
their shells, put them in a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel.
Reserve 12 concave shells.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the leeks, crumble in the saffron and stir. Cook over low heat until the leeks soften, about 8 minutes. Slowly add the reserved oyster liquid, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom, and cook over moderate heat until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons of white wine and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and  pepper.
3. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the 12 oyster shells on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Using a fork, divide the sautéed leeks among the shells. Set an oyster on the leeks in each shell and stir any accumulated oyster juices into the sauce.
4. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Whisk the egg yolk and the melted butter into the cream sauce and spoon the sauce over the oysters.
Broil as close to the heat as possible for about 45 seconds, just until the
sauce is bubbling and the oysters are lightly glazed. Serve at once.


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