A traditional appetizer from New Orleans.
"The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell, copyright 2008.
|3 1/2 oz (100 g) baby leaf spinach, rinsed||2 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped|
|1/4 cup chopped parsley||1/8 tsp cayenne pepper|
|1 garlic clove, chopped||salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|4 tbsp butter||rock salt|
|4 tbsp all-purpose flour||3 tbsp Pernod|
Cook the spinach (with any water clinging from rinsing) in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until wilted. Drain well, and squeeze dry to remove any excess liquid. Pulse the spinach, shallots, parsley, and garlic until combined and very finely chopped in a blender or food processor; set aside.
Meanwhile, to shell the oysters, cover the palm of one hand with a folded kitchen towel and grip an oyster, flat side up with the hinge toward you. Insert an oyster knife horizontally into the hinge and twist, then slide the knife left and right to loosen the shell. Very carefully lift off the top shell, then use the knife to loosen the oyster from the bottom. Reserve the liquid from the shell, then refrigerate the oyster in its shell and repeat until all the oysters are open.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, and let bubble for 2 minutes. Whisk in the reserved oyster liquid. Stir in the spinach mixture, anchovies, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread a thick layer of rock salt in 4 heatproof serving dishes large enough to hold 6 oysters each. Place on baking sheets and bake 5 minutes to heat the salt.
Stir the Pernod into the spinach. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the dishes with the salt from the oven and arrange 6 oysters in their shells in each. Spoon the sauce over the oysters and bake about 5 minutes, or until the sauce looks set. Serve immediately.
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