Oyster and Artichoke Soufflé
If ever two flavors were made for each other, oysters and artichokes are “it.” New Orleans loves them together, and they usually appear as soup. At Commander’s Palace, however, nothing is “usual.” Here the artichokes are prepared and turned into holders for oyster soufflés. Oyster sauce, rosemary, and tomato “roses” garnish the plates.
- Artichokes - 4 large
- Lemon - 1, halved
- Oyster Soufflé Base
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Celery - 1/8 cup, minced
- Green Onions - 1/8 cup, minced
- Onion - 1/8 cup, minced
- Oysters - 1 cup, minced
- Oyster Liquor (liquid from oysters) - 2-1/2 cups
- Oysters - 8 ounces
- Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Egg Whites - 6
- Oyster Sauce
- Green Onions - 1/8 cup, chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Oysters - 8 ounces
- Oyster Liquor (liquid from oysters) - 1-1/2 cups
- Thyme - 1/2 teaspoon
- Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
- Basil - 1/2 teaspoon
- Garlic Cloves - 1, minced
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Rosemary - 1 bunch, lightly chopped
- Tomato “roses” - 4
To prepare the artichokes: Trim the stems from the artichokes and rub the cut surfaces with lemon. Trim straight across the top quarter of the artichokes and discard. Rub with lemon. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the artichokes. Boil for 30 minutes, or until the bottoms are just tender and a leaf pulls out with only slight resistance. Drain.
To prepare the soufflé base: Place the butter and seasonings in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the celery, green onions, green pepper, and minced oysters. Saute until the vegetables are just tender. Add the oyster water and whole oysters and simmer 12 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring between each addition with a wooden spoon until the flour is absorbed. Cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken and pull away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, with a wooden spoon. Set aside off the heat. Whip the egg whites in an electric mixer at high speed until they stand in firm peaks. Set aside.
To prepare the sauce: Saute the green onions in the butter until soft, then add the oysters, oyster liquor, thyme, oregano, basil, and garlic. Stir gently. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, cooking until it forms a paste, 1 to 2 minutes; do not brown (white roux). Stir this into the oyster mixture. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly spray a baking pan with cooking oil spray. Scoop the hairy chokes out of the cooked artichokes and discard. Place the artichoke cups in the prepared pan. Fold the oyster soufflé base into the egg whites, being careful to preserve the volume of the egg whites. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the artichoke cups and bake 20 minutes, until the soufflé is puffed and browned.
To serve: Place an artichoke soufflé on each serving plate. Garnish each plate with rosemary and a tomato “rose.” Pass the oyster sauce in a sauceboat garnished with a piece of rosemary.