Growing up in Gretna, La, a small town adjacent to New Orleans in the 50's, my parents had many dinner parties. Mother frequently prepared this dish when oysters were in season. It's classic and delicious and very much overlooked today. Simple to prepare with components that can be made well ahead of time and assembled easily before the guests arrive or they can help. Best served with a champagne, a chardonnay or a dry reisling and a dressed green salad; makes a very nice meal. Vegetarian style is mushroom; meat substitutes are small bits of chicken/turkey. Spicier-increase red pepper.
1Assemble all the ingredients in your work space, chopping those that need to be chopped. Drain the oysters in a collander, keeping oyster liquid (liquor) in a container. You will need a frying pan, dutch oven and a whisk or wooden spoon.
2Beurre' Blanc: Use a frying pan or saute' pan, and melt butter on low heat. Add the flour and use a whisk to blend. Don't let the flour brown, keep it light ivory; add 1 cup of oyster liquor to the pan slowly. Whisk to get even texture. Simmer until liquid coats a spoon like a light gravy. Take off heat and set aside. (Note : this is not the classic beurre' blanc, if you want to use that recipe, I have posted it separately under Classic Beurre' Blanc).
3In the Dutch oven, saute' the onions, red pepper flakes until soft/clear.
Add oysters to the Dutch oven and begin heating on low medium heat, add in all other ingredients/spices. Cook on medium for 3/4 minutes (cover the pot). Add the the beurre' blanc to this pot. Cover pot and simmer lightly for 5 minutes. Add heavy cream a small amount at a time to keep the mixture like a thick gravy or soup. Simmer for 4 minutes. Adjust liquid to your preferred consistency, and remember you if you are putting it in the patty shell and reheating for 8 minutes this can affect the thickness (use alternate methods in #5). Taste and season to your taste; if more liquid is required use oyster liquor and/or heavy cream. Too soupy --reduce liquid by cooking down or by adding more small amounts of flour/butter mixture. Turn off heat and allow to set for 2 minutes to see consistency.
4Follow directions for baking the patty shells on Puff Pastry box. Bake to golden brown. To prepare for immediate serving:
Serve immediately on patty shells straight from the oven with centers
removed and placed on your plates. Spoon oyster mixture in and running over the sides. Place cutout top back on the patty shell.
5Alternate way of putting oyster patty together:
1. As individual entrees: Use small ramekins and fill with the hot mixture, then cover with unbaked puff pastry (the flat kind). Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until pastry is done and golden brown on top.
2.To assemble for later: Bake the Puff Pastry patty shells as directed on the box; cool on wire rack. Heat the oyster mixture insuring it's thick and creamy. On a foil lined cookie sheet place 8 patty shells with centers removed, and spoon in the mixture, placing the tops back on. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 5 minutes to get inside bubbly hot and well heated. Serve.
3. Quick method microwave: assemble previously baked patty shells on plates, spoon in hot mixture, running over the sides and microwave for 15/20 seconds to heat the patty up and serve. (Don't over microwave as the pastry gets leathery)
3. As hors d'oeuvres, the small patty shells can be filled and heated and served prior to the main meal. These can be done the night before, refrigerated and heated the next day. 375 degrees for 8/10 minutes in the oven on a cookie sheet.
4. Serve as a soup with bits of baked puff pastry broken on top and a few pieces of mico-greens or parsley on top.