While oysters are revered as aphrodisiacs, less well known are their health benefits: low in fat and high in protein, B12, and iron, there are many reasons to love this stew.
3 Tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80 mL) shallots, sliced
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) potatoes, diced and rinsed
3/4 cup (180 mL) leeks, sliced (no dark green)
3 cups (750 ml) 35% cream
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
1/2 cup (125 mL) vermouth
24 oysters, freshly shucked, reserve nectar
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots, potatoes, and leeks and sweat for 5 minutes without adding any colour. Pour in cream; season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Pour white wine and vermouth into a pot and bring to a boil.
Note: Use caution if using gas as the wine and vermouth may flamb?without a flame the mixture won’t ignite.
Shuck oysters into a container and then pour nectar and all into the simmering wine and vermouth. Remove from heat and, with a slotted spoon, remove the slightly poached oysters from the liquid. Place liquid back on the stove and reduce by half.
Strain this liquid into the potato, leek, and cream mixture and bring it all back to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning and remove from heat. Warm the oysters back up by placing them into the hot cream and divide evenly into 6 hot bowls.
source: "Something Nu for Fall", alive #299, September 2007
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.