Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cajun Christmas Part 2: The Oyster Trio

I started my Cajun Christmas posts out of order but since my Dad does the Famous Oyster Trio it took me a while to gather the photos and recipes from the various cooking locations so I posted the soup course first, but then I decided I wanted all of the Cajun Christmas posts to be together in 2013 so I am posting the last two today.

My Dad has been cooking oysters for as long as I can remember. The story goes that they used to be the appetizer for Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house may years ago but everyone always ate so many oysters that they didn't ever want any turkey so the tradition moved to the day after Thanksgiving as the main course for an oyster blow out dinner. This was long before I ate oysters. After we moved from the East coast to the Chicago area the tradition seemed to disappear for a while since only my parents were there to eat them and oysters were a little harder to come by in the Midwest. Then one year my Dad started planing an elaborate Christmas dinner with an Oysters Rockefeller appetizer and I ate them for the first time I remember. After that the Trio began making a comeback.

Bienville Filling- makes 2 dozen oysters
From: The New Orleans Cookbook by Rema and Richard Collin
1 stick butter
1 cup finely cut shallots
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2/3 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 lb shrimp, boiled and diced

Parmesan Topping-
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Melt butter in a sauce pan and add the shallots, parsley and garlic and cook 10 minutes. Gradually stir in flour and mix well. Add the cream and milk slowly stiring constantly til the mixture is smooth, then add the egg yolks, sherry, salt, pepper, and cayenne, blend well and cook over low heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in mushrooms, cook for 2 more minutes then add the shrimp and continue to cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon into a glass dish and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half before topping oysters. When ready top oysters with filling and sprinkle evenly with the parmesan topping.

Adding the cream and milk to the mix

And the egg yolks

And the sherry (which is in my opinion the secret ingredient)

And finally the shrimp

Rousseau Filling- makes 2 dozen oysters
From: Cajun-Creole Cooking by Terry Thompson
3 large tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dry savory
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/2 bay leaf, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 slices of bacon
grated parmesan

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and herbs saute til onions transparent. Then add the tomatoes. Then add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black and red peppers, saute 15 minutes and set sauce aside. When ready to cook oysters divide the sauce evenly through out the oysters top with a piece of the bacon and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Sauteing the onion, garlic, and bell pepper

adding the tomatoes

and the Worchestershire

Rockefeller Filling- makes 2 dozen oysters
(This one my Dad modified quite a bit from The New Orleans Cookbook over the years)
1 bunch green onions
1 cup-ish flat leaf parsley stemmed and chopped
1 small bag frozen spinach thawed and drained
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks salted butter, softened
sprinkle of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon powdered Chinese Five Spice (this is the secret ingredient!)

Mix the greens, and spices in with the butter then knead thoroughly and shape into 24 patties and set on a wax paper covered pan and place in the fridge til ready to put on the oysters. Place one patty on each oyster.

The greens

Adding the spices

And the butter

Mix well

Shaping into patties

All of the filings were pre- made the night before at my parent's house. Then the oysters were shucked and assembled at my house as the first course of our Cajun Christmas Dinner. All of the oyster types can be combined on the same pans and cook at 425 for about 20-25 minutes. The oysters that will be Rockefeller style should be in flat bottomed oysters that stay fairly level in the pan due to the amount of melted butter they will produce while cooking.

My Dad shucking the oysters. 
(Glad he does this part, I'd worry about stabbing myself in the hand!)

The fillings awaiting their destiny!

And the first oyster is bienville. My favorite!

The bienville topping

All ready for the oven!

And they are done after 20 long minutes. 
Wait a couple more minute to remove from the pan, those oyster shells are pretty toasty.

Finally the famous oyster trio! The perfect start to our Cajun Christmas.

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