French poet Leon-Paul Fargue described eating oysters as like ‘kissing the sea on the lips’.

Exotic, erotic by reputation….and not everybody’s tasse de thé, the sight and texture of an oyster has made many a strong man (and woman) gag. Still alive as you tip it into your mouth, might it wriggle and jiggle and wiggle inside, like the old day who swallowed a spider?

Never fear. We have an oyster recipe that is easy to follow, looks good, tastes good…and maybe even does you good.

Huîtres Gratinées au Champagne

(Merci à Victoire, ma gentille belle-mere pour cette recette et pour m’avoir donné goût aux huîtres.)

♣ 1 cup champagne
♣ 24 oysters (number 2 size works well)
♣  1 cup cream (crème liquide entière)
♣ 30g crunchy breadcrumbs (chapelure)
♣ 1 tsp pink peppercorns (baies roses)
♣  parsley or chives
♣  salt and pepper to taste

♣ Reduce the champagne to about half and pour in the cream, salt and pepper. Simmer gently for about 3 mins.

♣ Preheat oven in grill position.

♣ Open the shells (not too far in advance to keep fresh), empty out the water, take out the oysters and set aside.

♣ Using only the curved half of the shell, replace an oyster in each (depending on their size, you can put two oysters in one shell).

♣ Place the shells with the oysters on an oven tray, on plenty of tin foil to stop them rocking and spilling the topping.

♣ Pour the champagne cream mixture over the oysters and sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.

♣ Add a few pink peppercorns to each oyster and grill for 5 mins or until golden.

♣ Sprinkle on the parsley or chives and serve.

Choosing your Oysters

♥ Make sure you buy your oysters from a reputable supplier and keep refrigerated – the fresher the better – but whilst you might wish to put them ON ice, never place IN ice or they will freeze, and die.

♥ Check to see if shells are tightly shut. Discard any that gape open, even after a light tap – it means they’re dead and unfit to consume raw.

♥ When opened, touch the oyster with the tip of a knife. It should move, meaning it is alive, and thus edible.

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