Christmas eve tableI think my Christmas spirit has finally arrived!

I have the Messiah playing on WCPE, the oyster liquor is working its way through the coffee filter.  The sliced black truffles have steeped in warmed heavy cream  for several hours.  The half-and-half is warming. The cava (recommended by Randy at the Wine Authorities for this particular dish) is chilled and waiting to have the cork popped. There is a nice ripe sedge of Chaumes coming to room temperature.  A neighbor is coming to share the meal with me. The serving bowls are in a very low oven so that they will be warm for serving.

Note that this is intended to be a serious meal of oysters–not appetizer, or a light bowl of soup.

Poached Oysters with Black Truffle Cream

Ingredients

For the black truffle cream:

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 0.7 ounce jar of sliced black truffles, drained and oil reserved
  • grey sea salt, a pinch

For the poached oysters

  • 1-1/2 or 2  pints of select oysters with liquor (strained)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • grey sea salt to taste

AssemblyOysters

  1. A couple of hours before you want to serve this, warm the heavy cream (to about body temperature or just a hair above that). Drain the truffles, add to the warm cream and let stand and steep until ready to poach the oysters–or make the oyster stew if you prefer. (Reserve the oil for another use
  2. After the cava is open, and you’re nibbling on the cheese, warm the half-and-half to a brisk simmer or a very gentle boil, add the oysters and the liquor, remove from the heat and stir very gently. (People must wait on the oysters, not the other way about, so you can really be the center of attention with this one.)
  3. Watch the oysters carefully and as soon as the edges begin to curl very slightly add the reheated truffle cream and stir gently.
  4. Serve immediately with more bubbly, and lots of good bread. (Be sure that your serving bowl are warm when you serve the oysters.

Sorry–no pictures–this dish needs to be eaten immediately!

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I love oysters, and truffles.  The inspiration to combine them for my Christmas Eve tradition came from Le Chef’s Kitchen. I wanted  the flavors to contrast: the earthiness of the truffles and the briny flavor of the oysters so I didn’t think that poaching the oysters in the truffle cream would give me that. As it turned out, adding the truffle cream just as we were ready to eat worked perfectly.  Plump tender briny oysters and the contrast of the truffle cream was fantastic–kind of a “surf and turf” effect.

We had   	Cava, Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava, Brut Nature Gran Reserva “Coquet” (Mestres, Heretat, Spain) with this.  The cava was excellent–bold enough to stand up to the oysters and truffle flavors, but not quite the perfect combination that I’d hoped for. Both of us though the wine needed–well, we’re not sure just how to say it–I though maybe something a little “darker”, not quite so sharp and “bright”. Maybe I need a still wine with this rather than bubbly, though it’s a classic with oysters.

(We liked the cava;  I’ll certainly buy it again to drink with something else–but obviously I have to continue the search for the perfect wine to accompany this dish. (You do realize that I was very pleased with this combination–and it will definitely be repeated as it’s now on my list of favorites.)

A son goût!

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