Oysters In Champagne Sauce

Course : Seafoods
Serves: 4
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24 large raw oysters - in shell
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup oyster juice - from above
1/2 cup champagne - or other dry sparkling wine
1/4 teaspoon celery seed - ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 cups rock salt - or coarse salt for the broiler pan

Preparation / Directions:

* 2 cups rock salt - or coarse salt for the broiler pan *DIRECTIONS* PREPARATION: Open the oysters as instructed in previous recipe ("Opening Oysters in the Microwave"). Measure 1/2 cup of the strained cooking liquid and reserve. CHAMPAGNE SAUCE: Melt the butter in a 1-quart glass or ceramic measure or bowl, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup reserved oyster juices and Champagne and cook, uncovered, on high, stirring twice during cooking, for 4 minutes or until thickened. Recipe can be made to this point a few hours ahead. COOKING AND SERVING: Heat the broiler with rack set at its highest level. Stir celery seed and white pepper to taste into the sauce. Spread 2 cups of coarse or rock salt in the bottom of a broiler pan to steady oysters. Nestle reserved shells into salt. Put each oyster in a shell and thoroughly coat the tops with sauce. Put under preheated broiler until just golden, about 2 minutes. Makes 4 first-course servings. NOTE: This is a simple and elegant classic. You can prepare the oysters and sauce ahead in the microwave, and then broil for a minute or two just before serving. The obvious wine to serve is Champagne. If you choose another dry sparkling wine to drink instead, use the same one in the sauce.

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