Oysters de Ville
New Orleans chefs dream up endless ways to serve the city’s fresh salty oysters. Susan Spicer wraps hers into crisp filo packets, managing to include wine-mushroom ragout and spinach leaves along the way.
- Fresh Oysters - 1 dozen
- Shallots - 2, chopped
- Dry white wine - 1 cup
- Leeks - 2 (white part only), carefully washed and chopped
- Oyster Mushrooms - 4 ounces, roughly chopped (alt. button mushrooms)
- Unsalted Butter - 5 tablespoons
- Flour - 4 to 5 tablespoons
- Cream - 1/2 cup
- Nutmeg - pinch, freshly ground
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Spinach leaves - 12 to 18, whole, blanched
- Filo Dough - 1 pound
- Melted Butter - 1/2 cup
- Bread Crumbs - 1/2 cup
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Champagne Butter Sauce (recipe below)
- Shallots - 2 large, finely chopped
- Champagne - 1 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 pound (2 sticks), cold
- Salmon Roe - 1 ounce (optional)
- Chives - minced
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Salt - (optional)
Drain the reserve any oyster juice (liquor(). Marinate the oysters with the shallot and 1/4 cup of the wine for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saute pan. Add the leeks and oyster mushrooms and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in enough flour to absorb the butter. Add the remaining 3/4 cup wine and any oyster juice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour in the cream. Add the nutmeg and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until firm.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a shallow pan. Add the oysters and marinade. Poach just until the edges of the oysters start to curl. Drain on towels and chill. Spread the blanched spinach leaves on paper towels. Refrigerate until cool and dry.
Spread 1 sheet of filo on a dry work surface. Brush one half with melted butter. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Fold in half and coat with melted butter and a light sprinkling of bread crumbs. Fold the filo into a triangle.
Using your hands, wrap one oyster with about 1 tablespoon of the leek mixture, then cover with a spinach leaf. Brush the filo triangle with butter and place the oyster packet in the center. Fold the corners of the filo around the oyster, trimming off any excess dough. Turn the packet over and brush with butter. Pat into a smooth oval. Continue the procedure with the rest of the oysters. If any are very small, place two oysters together in one packet.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the oyster packets on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
To serve: Serve each person 3 oyster packets as an appetizer, accompanied by Champagne Butter Sauce.
Champagne Butter Sauce
Combine the shallots and champagne in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tablespoons of liquid. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly as the butter melts into the sauce. When all the butter has been incorporated, remove from heat and stir in the salmon roe and chives. Season to taste with white pepper; add salt only if not using salmon roe.