By Executive Chef – Wayne Sych
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House
Wayne Sych has two rules when it comes to cooking: keep it simple and use quality ingredients. With the experience he gained from working at some of Vancouver’s iconic restaurants such as The Cannery and the Fish House in Stanley Park, Wayne has continued the tradition of serving up a variety of regional seafood – blending his vibrant West Coast style with the freshest local ingredients.
Makes 4 large appetizer portions
16 large size fresh oysters
30 ml butter
1 stalk celery, chopped
300 ml fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped
2.5 ml fresh thyme leaves
15 ml fresh parsley, chopped
180 ml leeks, white part only chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1000 ml fresh spinach leaves, lightly packed
30 ml pernod
2-3 drops tabasco sauce
2.5 ml salt
1.25 ml fresh ground pepper
160 ml grated grana padano parmesan cheese for baking
Paprika for garnish
(Makes about 275ml)
8 large egg yolks
250 ml clarified butter
15 ml fresh lemon juice
15 ml white wine
2-3 drops tabasco sauce
1-2 drops Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste
Over medium heat melt the butter. Add the celery, fennel, leeks, parsley, thyme and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are soft about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to brown them. Add the spinach, pernod, salt and pepper toss until the spinach is wilted 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add the tabasco. While the mixture is still warm puree in a food processor until smooth. This can be prepared a day ahead, store in refrigerator.
Shuck the fresh oysters and gently remove the meat. Save the bottom shells and wash thoroughly removing any excess oyster meat. If the shells are in poor shape to use as the base to bake with then use oven proof ramekins.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Plunge the oyster meat into the water and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove oyster meat from pot with a slotted spoon and place on absorbent towels. Do not place in ice water. This can be done a day ahead. It is important to pre poach the oysters otherwise the finished recipe will be runny.
To clarify the butter start off with about ¾ lbs. of butter. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, skim off any solids that float to the top. With a ladle carefully remove the butter leaving any of the milk solids on the bottom of the pot. It is important that you end up with 250ml of clarified butter. Set aside and keep warm.
Place egg yolks, cayenne, lemon juice, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and white wine in a stainless steel bowl. Place egg yolk mixture over a pot of low simmering water. Whisk constantly until egg yolks thicken and are at the ribbon stage. Remove egg yolks from the double boiler and slowly pour in melted butter until incorporated. Season with salt, if hollandaise is thick add a few drops of warm water. It is important to whisk the egg yolks constantly and to add the warm butter slowly as it will separate the sauce. Serve immediately, sauce cannot be saved and reheated.
To Assemble the Rockefellers
Pre heat oven to 375F. On the bottom of each oyster shell or ramekin place about a tablespoon of the vegetable mixture, place a pre poached oyster on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes until hot. Remove from oven, spoon hollandaise sauce over each one (recipe follows), sprinkle with paprika, serve immediately. A trick to keep the oysters from rocking around on the plate is to pour coarse salt on the plate and sit the baked oysters on top of the salt.