Courtesy Jimmy Papadopoulos, chef/partner, Bellemore, Chicago
Putting delicate oysters in the blender might make you flinch, until you taste this luscious, decadent sauce. Nutty buckwheat pasta adds another layer of complexity.
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¾ cup dry vermouth
- ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc, or other dry, unoaked white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 24 Beausoleil oysters, shucked, liquor reserved
- 1 pound buckwheat or whole wheat capellini
- ¼ cup chives, minced
- 1 lemon
- 2 ounces caviar, preferably Osetra, for garnish
Combine shallot, garlic, vermouth and wine in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, and cook until reduced by 75% and syrupy. Add cream, milk and reserved oyster liquor. Reduce by about half, or until it has consistency of heavy cream. Add 12 oysters. Remove from heat, cover pan, and steep for 20 minutes. Transfer to blender and purée. Add salt to taste, then pass through fine strainer into large sauté pan.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta, and add to pan with sauce. Turn heat to medium, and toss pasta to coat. Thin sauce with pasta water, if desired. Squeeze lemon over pasta, to taste. Divide pasta among four bowls. Garnish with chives, remaining oysters and caviar. The heat from pasta will warm oysters through. Serves 4.
Jerome Noel, wine director at Bellemore, recommends Etna Bianco, from Sicily. “While the warm Mediterranean climate brings bright ripe stone and orchard fruit, the vineyards’ elevation and poor volcanic soils bring balance, brightness and an almost sea-salty brininess that match perfectly with the oysters and caviar.”