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Oyster And Crabmeat Pan Roast

The oyster combination pan roast at Pascal’s Manale is one of my favorite dishes there. That’s saying something, because it must compete with a host of other good oysters dishes. I’ve never encountered anything quite like it in any other restaurant. The oysters and crab lumps (lately they’ve added shrimp to it) are afloat in a thick veloute with a generous admixture of green onions. It’s topped with bread crumbs and baked until bubbly. As much as I like it, it’s so rich that I find it hard to eat an entree portion. (Fortunately, they also serve it as an appetizer.) Here’s my version of it, which comes pretty close to theirs.

Manales-OysterComboPanRoast-

  • 2 cups oyster water (if available)
  • 4 dozen fresh oysters
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 green onions, finely snipped, tender green parts only
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat (can substitute shrimp or crawfish tails)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. If you have oyster water, pour it into a large skillet and bring it to a light simmer. (If not, use two cups vegetable stock, or water.) Reduce the water by about half. Add the oysters and let them cook until they just begin to plump up. Remove the oysters to a bowl and let them cool.

2. Add the milk to the oyster water in the pan and return to a simmer.

3. While that’s going on, melt the butter over medium heat in another saucepan and add the flour. Stir to make a blond roux. Don’t allow the mixture to brown.

4. Strain the oyster water-milk combination to the roux. Whisk the mixture until it takes on the texture of light mashed potatoes. This is bechamel.

5. Remove the bechamel from the heat and stir in the parsley, green onions, salt, lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain the water from the bowl holding the oysters into the bechamel, and whisk in.

6. Add the crabmeat to the bowl of oysters. Toss gently to combine. Divide the oysters among eight gratin dishes or four small casseroles.

7. Spoon the bechamel over the oysters and crabmeat, and smooth it out. Top with a thin layer of bread crumbs.

8. Place the gratin dishes or casseroles on the top rack of the oven. Turn the oven on broil and raise the heat to 500 degrees. Broil until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are browning–15-20 minutes. Serve hot with hot French bread on the side.

Serves eight.

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