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When it comes to New Orleans cuisine – both Cajun and Creole – seafood plays a major role. From shrimp étouffée to seafood gumbo to a good old-fashioned crawfish boil, this city loves its shellfish. And one thing you'll find all over The Big Easy is oysters in every form: raw, fried, chargrilled and baked.
Baked oysters are NOLA staple, but everybody likes to cook theirs a little differently. And who better to trust with a New Orleans dish than Crescent City legend himself, Emeril Lagasse?
Emeril has been a New Orleans culinary icon for more than 30 years, and the celebrity chef was kind enough to share this baked oyster recipe with us.
In this version, oysters sit atop creamy leeks and then get topped with crispy bread crumbs and a tasso hollandaise sauce. These oysters take a bit of effort to make, but after the first bite, it'll all be worth it.
*Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups julienned leeks (white part only, well washed)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 pound tasso, finely chopped
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 shucked oysters (reserve the deeper shells - rinsed well – for baking)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Essence
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 450º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic and leeks, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the leeks are tender, another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to a small skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add the tasso and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a small bowl and reserve the fat.
- Prepare the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons water and hot sauce in a stainless steel mixing bowl, and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne. Place the bowl over the simmering water (the bowl should not be touching the water) and whisk until the yolks are thick and ribbonlike, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Set the bowl on the counter and whisk in 8 tablespoons of the melted butter and reserved tasso fat into the egg mixture in a steady stream. Fold in the tasso. Cover to keep warm.
- Arrange the oyster shells on the baking sheet.
- Combine the panko crumbs with Essence, 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Divide the leek mixture evenly among 12 oyster shells. Lay an oyster on top of the leek mixture and cover them generously with the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over the top and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
- To serve, drizzle the oysters with the hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and parsley.
- Note: If the hollandaise has become too thick while waiting to serve, whisk in warm water, a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.