Oysters Fonseca

Oysters Fonseca is the third oyster in the trio of baked oysters at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House. The other two, of course, are Rockefeller and Bienville. The third oyster–each version unique to the restaurants where they are found–is a long tradition among traditional New Orleans restaurant, but one not as common as it once was. That’s mainly because not nearly as many restaurant bake oysters with complicated toppings anymore, now that Drago’s char-broiled oysters have become so omnipresent.

Baked oysters three ways.

Baked oysters three ways at the Bourbon House. The oysters Fonseca are at three and five o’clock.

  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 ripe red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
  • 2 1/2 lbs tasso, finely ground
  • 2 medium, rip tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. white wine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oyster water
  • 2 Tbs. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbs. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup French bread crumbs
  • 2 dozen fresh oysters

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Heat the butter in a nine-inch skillet over medium heat until it bubbles. Add the red pepper, red onion and jalapeno, and cook until they soften. Add the tasso and cook until it’s heated through.

2. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start falling apart. Add the wine and stir to dissolve the pan ingredients. Add the flour and stir until it’s blended in. Cook for about five minutes.

3. Add the oyster water and continue cooking until the mixture shows only a small amount of liquid–eight to ten minutes. Add the cream and grated Parmesan cheese. After that’s blended in, taste the sauce (it is now finished) and add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Remove the pan from heat and cool.

4. You can finish the dish in either the fancy, restaurant way (on oyster shells, with the sauce applied with a pastry bag), or in small au gratin dishes or even a medium, shallow casserole dish. Either way, top each oyster with two tablespoons of the sauce, then sprinkle with teh bread crumbs.

5. Put the oysters into the preheated 400-degree oven and bake until the sauce starts to bubble and the bread crumbs get toasted–12-15 minutes.

Makes two dozen oysters, enough for four to eight people.

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