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Poached Oysters In Pernod Cream And Fried Spinach

  • Yield: 4 first-course servings


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed, and patted dry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fennel, leaves and bulb
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup Pernod
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 24 large freshly shucked oysters, with their liquor
  • 2 teaspoons Emerilís Creole Seasoning
  • 4 fresh fennel sprigs


  • Preheat the oven to 250?F.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add about one-third of the spinach and lightly stir-fry until crisp, for about 1 minute. Drain the spinach on paper towels. Repeat in 2 more batches. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Keep warm on a baking sheet in the oven.
  • Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in another large skillet over high heat. When the butter sizzles, add the shallots, garlic, fennel, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. SautÈ, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent, for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the stove. Holding it at a distance from the burner, add the Pernod. Carfully set the skillet back on the burner, keeping your face away; the Pernod should flame. If it doesnít, donít worry, just continue to cook it in the same way: simmer for 1 minute, whisk in the cream, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Fold in the oysters, with their liquor, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook just until the edges of the oysters begin to curl, for about 2 or 3 minutes, depending on their size. Remove immediately from the heat.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the oysters from the skillet, and set the skillet back on the burner over high heat. Cook the sauce, reducing it until itís thick enough to coat a spoon. Swirl in the remaining1 teaspoon butter, remove from the heat, and whisk just until the butter has melted. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.
  • To serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce onto each of 4 dinner plates. Arrange the oysters like the spokes of a wheel on top of the sauce, leaving a well in the center. Place a mound of the spinach in the center of the plate. Garnish the rim of the plate with Creole Seasoning and add a sprig of fresh fennel.