Oyster Pot Pie

Perfect Oyster Pot Pie

Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets
32 oysters, shucked, with juice
1 cup clam juice or seafood stock
3 T Pernod or Ricard
2 T butter
1 cup sliced leeks
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
2 T flour
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots
1 T chopped fresh tarragon or 1 1/2 t dried
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

Drain oysters well over large measuring cup. Add clam juice or stock to make 1 1/2 cups. Add Pernod or Ricard.

Melt butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add leek and fennel and saute over low heat until soft but not brown. Stir in flour, cook briefly then stir in clam and oyster liquid. Simmer until thickened. Add peas and carrots, cover and cook until carrots are tender, 15 - 20 minutes. Season with salt, if needed, and cayenne to taste. Add oysters, tarragon and 6 T cream. Cook briefly until oysters firm up. Divide mixture among 4 one-cup ramekins at least 2 inches deep, putting 8 oysters in each.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out puff pastry dough and cut in 4 circles the diameter of the ramekins. Top each ramekin with dough, brush tops with remaining cream and cut slits in tops. Place ramekins on a baking sheet on upper rack of oven, bake for 30 minutes until pastry is golden. Serve.

Notes: A 1 quart jar of raw osters hold apprx 38 oysters. What to do with the extra oysters? Try Teriyaki Broiled Oysters

Seasonal Notes:

January: Winter is the absolutely best time of year to buy oysters in the shell. I love to eat them raw with just a dribble of lemon juice. A trip up to Taylor Fish Farms through the farm fields is a great wintertime thing to do, birding as you go. But, when I don't have time to make the hour-long drive I head off to CostCo where, for a little over $10, I can buy a one quart jar of freshly shucked local oysters. I have several recipes for cooked oysters. This is a great one I found in the New York Times.

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