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Creole Gratin of Oysters and Artichokes

This recipe, created by Dave Carlson, came in second in an oyster-cooking competition a few years ago, sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Marketing Board and Drago’s Restaurant. It’s a measure of how good the competition was that something this delicious would only come in second. (I thought it should have won.)

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped a bit
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 drops Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 pint fresh oysters, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • Sprinkle of paprika

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Coat an oval gratin dish (about 12 by 8 inches) with butter or oil.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the crushed red pepper, red onion and garlic and cook until the onion turns clear.

3. Add the sherry and bring to a boil for about a minute. Then add the thyme, salt and pepper, Tabasco, and cream. Return to a boil. Sprinkle in the flour and lightly whisk into the sauce.

4. Lower the heat and add the tomato, lemon juice, artichokes, oysters, and parsley. Agitate the pan to mix all the ingredients, then remove from the heat.

5. Pour the oyster mixture into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, then Swiss cheese, and finally paprika.

6. Lower the oven to 375 degrees and bake the gratin about 25 minutes, till it bubbles around the edges and the top is browned.

Serves four to eight.

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