"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one
has not dined well."
Mind Caviar, Vol. I Premiere
Issue, Winter 2000
A Dinner Named Desire
by Violet Skye
New Orleans is a city of
costume balls, divine cuisine and is home to Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and
every other decadent celebration you can think of. In the city, on warm
summer night, you can stroll through the Garden District past Commander's
Palace and smell in juxtaposition the enticing aroma of Creole cuisine,
the heady fragrance of night-blooming jasmine, and the musty smell of decay
from Lafayette cemetery-- all in the space of a block-- and all the while
the damp air around you caresses your skin like a soft, wet kiss. Because
it is such a sexy and indulgent city, New Orleans is the inspiration for
this sensual dinner for two.
Of all the provocative things
I like to serve a lover, oysters are my favorite. Raw and on the half shell,
I dare you to try not to think about sex as they slide down your throat.
But, if you are trying to be little more subtle in your seduction, Oysters
Bienville, which are baked on the half shell with a rich and spicy dressing
of shrimp, mushrooms and bacon, are elegant, seductive, and definitely
½ dozen oysters on the half-shell
cups of rock salt
cup finely chopped shallots
cup clarified butter
cup half and half cream, heated
pound boiled shrimp, finely chopped
cup finely chopped mushrooms
oz. white wine
cup fine bread crumbs combined with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
Such a divine appetizer must
be followed by an equally flavorful entrée. To tantalize your lover,
I suggest you introduce him or her to Barbecued Shrimp.
Prepare three pie plates with
a layer of rock salt about 1-inch deep (enough so that the oyster shells
will stay flat when you set them in the pie plate).
Shuck the oysters with a good
oyster knife. To shuck oysters, insert the tip of the oyster knife between
the two halves of the oyster near the tendon and twist the blade to open
the shell. Run the knife along the edge of the shell to separate the oyster
from the shell. Place the oysters in the pie plates on their half shell
and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to curl. Be careful
not to overcook them. Remove them from the oven and set them aside.
Fry the bacon, drain and cut
into small pieces. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, sauté
the shallots in the clarified butter until they are tender. As you take
in their heavenly scent, whisk in the flour until smooth. Gradually add
the half and half cream, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens.
Add the bacon, the shrimp, mushrooms, and the white wine. Allow to simmer
for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove the saucepan from heat
and add the egg yolks. Blend well, and then allow the sauce to set for
Spoon the sauce over each oyster
and sprinkle them generously with the bread crumb mixture. Bake at 400
degrees until the tops of the oysters are brown, about 5 minutes. Serve
with a cocktail. After all that work, you deserve it.
Sit back and watch the bliss
in your lover's face as he or she samples your handiwork. Accept lavish
praise of your cooking skills. Smile graciously, and ask your lover to
fix you another
recipe serves 4, so you will have leftovers, which you will both be very
happy for the next day. They are great cold right out of the refrigerator!
pounds medium-large shrimp in their shells
tablespoons Creole seasoning (preferably Tony Cachere's)
turns freshly ground pepper
tablespoons olive oil
cup chopped onions
tablespoons minced garlic
lemons, peeled and sectioned
cup Worcestershire sauce
cup dry white wine
cups heavy cream
tablespoons unsalted butter
Because this is a complicated
meal to prepare, feel free to keep dessert simple. Pick up an assortment
of miniature pastries from a local bakery, which you can feed to your lover
in bed with your fingers. Or to really arouse your lover's sweet side,
Godiva chocolate "open oysters" would be a great follow up to "A Dinner
Named Desire", perhaps served with a sparkling glass of champagne.
Peel the shrimp, leaving only
the tails attached. Save the shells, which you will need to make the delightful
sauce. Season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning and
8 turns of ground black pepper, using your hands to coat the shrimp with
the seasonings. (Yes, get your hands in there and rub those seasonings
in. Don't be shy.) Refrigerate the shrimp while you make the sauce.
Heat one tablespoon of the
oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions
and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the reserved shrimp shells,
the remaining 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning, the bay leaves, lemons,
water, Worcestershire, wine, salt, and the remaining 8 turns of black pepper.
Stir well and bring to a boil. At this point, your kitchen will begin to
smell fabulous. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from
heat, let it cool for about 15 minutes, and then strain into a small saucepan.
There should be about 1 ½ cups. Place over high heat, bring to a
boil, and cook until thick, syrupy, and dark brown, about 15 minutes. You
should end up with about 4 to 5 tablespoons of intensely concentrated barbecue
sauce base. Set the sauce base aside until just before you are ready to
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon
of oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the
shrimp and sauté them for about 2 minutes.
Add the cream and all of the
barbecue sauce base. Stir and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp
to a platter, and whisk the butter into the sauce. Remove from heat.
Serve the shrimp with the sauce
along biscuits or French bread for dipping. This dish goes nicely with
a simple salad of baby spinach in a Dijon vinaigrette dressing, but feel
free to substitute your favorite salad or vegetable.
Swoon with delight as the flavors
dance the mambo on your tongue.
Accept more lavish praise.
Be gracious and let your lover kneel at your feet and worship you. And
have another cocktail,
you really earned it.
When your lover, emboldened
by the passion of your cuisine, makes a bold proposition, say yes.
Recipe For the Perfect Cocktail:
Copyright © 2000 Violet
Skye. All rights reserved.
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