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Fast and Fancy: Gourmet Cooking at Home

Apr 4, 2008
Of all types of food, that which comes out of the water is probably the most versatile. In some form or other it can be served at breakfast or at luncheon. It makes ideal supper dishes.

Huitres Aphrodites - Serves 2 to 4

This dish could well appear as the fish course at a formal dinner. Moreover, it may be prepared equally well in chafing dish or skillet. The proportions listed below are more or less a compromise. A pint of oysters is not excessive for a reasonably hungry man at luncheon or supper, but it is too much if other courses follow. This recipe, then, will be about right if it is to be the chief item at a meal for two; otherwise it is sufficient for four.

1 quart large oysters
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon mint, very fine
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
3/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne
salt
3 dashes scotch bonnet
1/4 cup malmsey
4 sprigs parsley

Drain the oysters. Melt the butter in a chafing dish blazer or in a skillet, cook the garlic for a few moments, and add the oysters. Sprinkle them with the mint, marjoram, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt and Scotch Bonnet, and stir well. Saute the oysters, stirring occasionally, until the edges begin to curl. Remove the garlic, and pour in the wine. Continue to cook until the oysters are plump. Serve on hot plates, garnished with parsley.

The oysters may be placed on buttered triangles of hot toast, or, and I think better, be accompanied by French bread.

Clams Oz - Serves 4

Unless you like pepper, this dish is not for you, but if you do, you will find it exhilarating and, as the English say, "absolutely wizard."

The recipe is controlled completely by the quantity and the quality of the pepper put into the sauce. It must be freshly ground black Java pepper, and you should use at least a teaspoonful, or more, depending on your tolerance. Properly made it is an ideal clam dish for luncheon or supper; it has merit as a fish course at dinner; and if you are fond of soft clams you may wish to serve it as a main course for that meal. If you do, you would be well advised to add a fourth tin of clams.

3 tins underwood soft clams
2 bottles clam juice
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

Drain the clams and discard the liquid. Place the bottled clam juice in a saucepan, add the bay leaf and thyme, and place, covered, over a low flame to simmer for about fifteen minutes. Melt the butter in another and larger saucepan, add the flour and dry mustard to make a roux, and cook for five minutes over a low flame.

When cooked, remove the bay leaf from the clam juice, and gradually add the juice to the roux to make a sauce. Cook the sauce slowly, stirring constantly, for about ten minutes. Add the white wine, the salt, the monosodium glutamate, and grind in the black pepper. Still stirring, cook until the sauce comes to a boil, but do not allow it to boil. Put the clams in the sauce, heat through, and serve at once.

You may serve the clams on toast triangles, but French bread on the side is better. For vegetables: baby beets, to give color, or baby lima beans are suggestions.

Both these dishes will be appreciated by your guests.
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