Oysters are back in season, and we couldn't be happier. While eating them raw is always a delicious option, we happen to love this decadent, cheesy version courtesy of New Orleans chef John Besh.
Oyster Gratin With Horseradish & Parmesan
“This is the perfect way to enjoy plump oysters at the table, cloaked in my go-to topping: a crispy mix of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and lots of olive oil. I usually make this gratin in a big ovenproof dish.”
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups milk
2 heaping tablespoons prepared horseradish
salt and pepper, to taste
3 dozen oysters, shucked, drained and patted dry
1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and whip up a roux, whisking until it turns blond, for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the onions and garlic, lower the heat, and continue cooking and stirring until the onions are soft.
3. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, for about 30 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the horseradish, salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan with plastic wrap and let cool.
5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Salt and pepper the oysters and place them in a baking dish in a single layer. Pour the cooled sauce evenly over the oysters.
6. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil and pepper flakes until the oil moistens the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the oysters and sauce in the baking dish.
7. Bake 15 minutes or until topping turns golden brown. Serves 6 – 8.
Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau