While on vacation in New Orleans, my wife wanted to eat somewhere we have not eaten at before. I suggested Pascal’s Manale, Originator of BBQ Shrimp. So I contacted my friend Wendy Gruntz, a server there, to make us a reservation. While my wife was looking forward to the BBQ Shrimp, one of her favorite dishes, I was interested in the Combination Pan Roast. This dish is one of the best in the house. It was described as like an oyster and crabmeat dressing. It was everything I hoped for and more. The recipe below is from Tom Fitzmorris. I know I will be using it as a starting point for my own dish.
2 cups oyster water (if available)
4 dozen fresh oysters
2 cups milk
3 sticks butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
6 green onions, finely snipped, tender green parts only
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Tabasco
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. lump crabmeat (can substitute shrimp or crawfish tails)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1. If you have oyster water, pour it into a large skillet and bring it to a light simmer. (If not, use two cups of tap water.) Add the oysters and let them cook until they just begin to plump up and you see the first curling of the edges. Remove the oysters to a bowl and let them cool.
2. Add the milk to the oyster water in the pan and return to a simmer.
3. While that’s going on, melt the butter over medium heat in another saucepan and add the flour. Stir to make a blond roux. Don’t allow the mixture to brown.
4. Strain the oyster water-milk combination to the roux. Whisk the mixture until it takes on the texture of light mashed potatoes. This is bechamel.
5. Remove the bechamel from the heat and stir in the parsley, green onions, salt, lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain the water from the bowl holding the oysters into the bechamel, and whisk in.
6. Add the crabmeat to the bowl of oysters. Toss gently to combine. Divide the oysters among eight gratin dishes or four small casseroles.
7. Spoon the bechamel over the oysters and crabmeat, and smooth it out. Top with bread crumbs.
8. Place the gratin dishes or casseroles on the top rack of the oven. Turn the oven on broil and raise the heat to 500 degrees. Broil until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are browning–15-20 minutes. Serve hat with hot French bread on the side.