Oyster Tartlets

Oysters are a prominent part of many Gulf Coast holiday meals, and they play a big role in New Orleans chef John Besh's dinner. As a child, he loved when family friend Mrs. Slaughter made little puff pastry cups and filled them with oysters in cream sauce. In this version, he places the oysters in mini tartlet shells, then tops them with a creamy horseradish sauce and crispy bread crumbs.

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  • Servings: 12

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  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 prebaked mini phyllo shells
  • 24 small shucked oysters

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Stir in the flour, then whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, whisking. Stir in the onion and bay leaf and simmer over low heat, whisking, until no floury taste remains, 10 minutes. Pass through a coarse strainer set over a small bowl; discard the bay leaf. Stir in the horseradish and season with salt and pepper. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the sauce.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the <em>panko</em> and cheese and stir in the olive oil. Arrange the phyllo shells on a rimmed baking sheet. Place an oyster in each shell. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the horseradish sauce into each shell, and sprinkle the panko mixture on top. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 10 minutes, until hot throughout and crisp on top. Serve right away.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published December 2007

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