Oysters Bienville

Peter Frank Edwards
by Francine Maroukian - Feb/March 2010

Chef Justin Devillier shares his favorite recipe for baked oysters

"My uncle and aunt used to make cooking a very enjoyable experience where everyone was involved. Whether we were contributing or just criticizing, we all did our share. It was usually a dish that took awhile, such as smothered corn maque choux or rice and gravy, so there was plenty of time to hang around and be a family. Playing horseshoes, grilling oysters, telling stories, and shooting pistols in the woods were all things you could expect at a get-together with the Devilliers. Now that all the kids are grown, we don’t get to do those cookouts very often, but anytime I get a whiff of something that reminds me of those days, I cherish it. The flavors and aromas of Oysters Bienville—peppers and shallots along with the briny oysters and smoky bacon—always take me back."— Chef Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans, Louisiana

Oyster Items
1 dozen Gulf oysters, shucked, liquor reserved (arrange oysters on open bottom shell and discard top half)
Rock salt

Sauce Ingredients
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 jalapeño, pith and seeds removed and fine chopped
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped celery hearts (about 1 rib)
½ cup finely chopped shallots (about 4 shallots)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour
½ cup oyster liquor (supplement with water if necessary)
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. Angostura bitters
2 tbsp. fresh-picked thyme
2 tbsp. snipped chive
2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Coarse salt and white pepper to taste