Imagine the piping hot white sauce and large oysters covered with crisp, golden-brown Parmesan cheese ! Here is a suggestion on cooking oysters au gratin using a donabe earthenware pot for a special winter’s dinner.
Oyster au Gratin
Ingredients : 4 servings
- 1 small onion, cut into wedges
- 100 g bacon, cut into 1 cm slices
- 4 mushrooms, cut into ¼ each
- 8 oysters
- 3 table spoons, all purpose flour
- 1 table spoons, butter
- 2 table spoons, olive oil
- 1 piece, bay leave
- 2 table spoons, white wine or Japanese sake
- 500 – 600 ml (2 ½ US cups), milk
- Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, to your liking
- Dust the cleaned and prepared oysters with flour, season with salt and pepper.
- Gently start heating the donabe, place the butter and olive oil, then add the bay leaf.
- Stir in the bacon and onion. When the onion becomes transparent, put aside in the donabe, and cook the oysters on both sides.
- Once the oysters are cooked, add the white wine or Japanese sake, cover with a lid for a few minutes to braise.
- Add the mushrooms once the oysters become plump and gently stir.
- Sprinkle the flour, keep stirring until the flour is cooked.
- Pour in milk while stirring on a low heat. Remember to mix from the bottom of the pan.
- Once the milk starts to simmer, the sauce will thicken. Always remember to stir from the bottom of the donabe.
- Sprinkle both Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to your liking. Adding butter or olive oil to the surface will make it turn golden brown colour.
- Bake for 10 minutes in an oven heated to 200℃ (400 °F).
A well looked after donabe will serve as a useful cooking utensil that can “grill”, “braise” “boil” and also “bake” as shown in this gratin recipe. Donabe pots have a distinctive presence on the table and can act as the centerpiece.
Deli-sa Donabe Earthenware Pot
The donabe has a history both as a cooking utensil as well as tableware. In a traditional Japanese household, there would have been an “irori”, a fireplace situated in the middle of the living room. This not only served to heat the room, but as a place for boiling water and serving hot food. The culture of using a “nabe”, pot as part of the dining tradition originated from this. It is rare to find an irori in the modern Japanese household, but the traditional style of sharing food from a nabe firmly remains. Actually, the donabe in its essential design embodies that same cultural tradition.
This series of articles features the “déli-sa” donabe from the Hanada pottery shop and was created in collaboration with the members of a Donabe Club and pottery artist Mr. Toshiki Sugimoto. The recipes and dishes shown are posted with the cooperation of Ms. Taniuchi, a member of the Donabe Club. If you have any questions, please send us a facebook message!
Recipe courtesy of Konomi Taniuchi.
Movie and written by Jun Kaneko. Translated by Asaka Barsley.
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