Oysters and champagne are two incredibly decadent and luxurious ingredients. In this recipe, you don’t have to use champagne, you could use white wine or even cider, but it’s a real shame for such a luxurious recipe, not to use champagne and go the whole hog. And anyway, you will only use part of the bottle, if there are just two of you for example, and then you can drink the rest of it.
Open the oysters over a large bowl in order to catch the water held in their shells, and set the flesh aside. Filter the liquid to remove any fragments of shell and pour it into a saucepan. Spread a deep layer of the sea salt on a large tray. Carefully clean the bottom half of each shell and wedge them until they are steady in the salt.
You can either use the oysters raw, or if you don’t fancy that, you can briefly poach them. Bring the oyster water to the boil and poach the oysters for thirty seconds, no more. Drain them, retaining the poaching liquid, then place each oyster back in a shell. Bring the oyster poaching water to the boil again, add the champagne and some pepper and continue to heat the liquid at a gentle boil for about three minutes to reduce it. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy, then pour them very slowly into the champagne mix, whisking all the time. Put the pan back on a very gentle heat, still whisking like mad. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens, then take it off the heat and whisk in the double cream. Spoon the sabayon (for that is what you have just produced) into each oyster shell and brown them under a really hot grill for about 2 minutes until they brown and that’s it! Serve with chilled champagne, bien sur.
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