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Broiled Oysters with Celery Cream and Virginia Ham

Yield 9 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 dozen fresh oysters, in the shell
  • Rock salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces Virginia ham, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped celery root
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to Make It

  1. Scrub oysters with a stiff brush under running water. Insert an oyster knife into the hinged edge of each oyster; twist knife handle back and forth until top shell is loose. Slide oyster knife along the bottom of the shell to detach muscle. Remove and discard top shell; drain and reserve 1 cup oyster liquor. Keep oysters in the deeper bottom shell. Arrange oysters over rock salt in a jellyroll pan; chill.

  2. Combine 1 cup oyster liquor, 1 cup cream, and next 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until thickened. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in ham, celery, and pepper; set celery cream aside.

  3. Cook celery root in boiling water to cover 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Place celery root, 1/4 cup cream, butter, and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth.

  4. Place 1/2 teaspoon celery root puree under each reserved oyster in the shell. Top with 1 teaspoon reserved celery cream. Broil 3 inches from heat for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.