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Oysters Ambrosia

This was created at Commander’s Palace by Sebastian “Chef Buster” Ambrosia, who might have the best name I ever heard for a chef. For many years, Chef Buster hosted a cooking show on WWL Radio. He served this dish in every restaurant he headed, and it was always the best dish in that restaurant at the time. It’s as Creole as something can be: seafood with a brown sauce. “It’s good, hearts!” as Chef Buster would say.

  • 4 dozen big oysters
  • 2 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 quart strong beef stock
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. Crystal hot sauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Vegetable oil for frying

1. Drain the oysters and collect the water. Sprinkle the oysters with the Creole seasoning, and toss around to coat uniformly. Put them in the refrigerator while making the sauce.

2. In a saucepan, make a medium-dark roux with the butter and flour, taking care not to burn it. When the roux has reached the right color, add the red wine and bring it to a boil while stirring.

3. After the wine boils for a minute, add the beef stock, strained oyster water, bay leaves, and garlic. Whisk to dissolve the bits of roux that will be floating around. Lower the Bring the pot up to a simmer and let it cook and thicken for about 45 minutes.

4. Add the Worcestershire and the hot sauce, plus salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer another ten minutes, at most, while you’re preparing the oysters.

5. Get the oysters from the refrigerator and coat them with flour seasoned with the 1 Tbs. salt. Fry the oysters till golden brown, about two minutes. Don’t add so many that the oil temperature drops radically. Drain after frying.

6. Spoon some of the sauce into a bowl and toss the oysters around in it to coat them well. Place six oysters on a plate and top with some green onions and parsley.

Opulent option: Add some lump crabmeat to the bowl when tossing the oysters in the sauce, and serve them both together.

Makes eight appetizers or four entrees.

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