Total Time
1hr 35mins
Prep 1 hr 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

Named after the founder of New Orleans, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. First served at Antoine’s, the famous New Orleans restaurant.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. To make the sauce: in a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat and bring almost to a boil, watching it carefully so that it doesn’t boil over.
  2. Remove pan from heat and reserve.
  3. Meanwhile, place another small pan over medium heat; add in 2 tablespoons butter.
  4. When the butter has melted and the foam begins to subside, sprinkle in the flour, stir the mixture to blend, and immediately turn the heat down to med-low.
  5. Continue stirring while the mixture bubbles for two minutes.
  6. Gradually whisk in the reserved warm milk, raise the heat to med-high, and bring to a boil, whisking continuously.
  7. Reduce to a bare simmer and add a pinch of nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes.
  8. The sauce should be very thick but still pourable.
  9. Whisk in a small quantity of milk if you think it needs thinning.
  10. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and set the sauce aside.
  11. Place plastic wrap directly on sauce to keep a skin from forming.
  12. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  13. Add in green peppers, scallions, and garlic; cook gently for 5 minutes (do not let the vegetables brown).
  14. Add in the wine; increase the heat to med-high; let it reduce by half.
  15. Add in pimentos, cheese, breadcrumbs, cayenne, a few grindings of black pepper, a pinch of salt, and the reserved cream sauce, stirring to incorporate the mixture.
  16. Decrease the heat to medium-low and let the sauce gently simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  17. When finished, it should be almost, but not quite, the consistency of mayonnaise.
  18. Taste the sauce for salt and adjust.
  19. Transfer sauce to a small bowl; set aside.
  20. Divide half the rock salt between 4 dinner plates, each large enough to hold 6 oysters; distribute the salt evenly on each plate; set plates aside.
  21. Divided the remaining salt between two roasting pans, each large enough to hold a dozen oysters in one layer; distribute the salt as you did for the plates.
  22. Open the top, flat side of each oyster; retain in each shell as much of the oyster liquor as possible.
  23. Discard the top shell and free each oyster from its muscle.
  24. Transfer each oyster in its bottom shell to the salt-lined roasting pans.
  25. Arrange the oven racks to accommodate both pans and preheat oven to 400°.
  26. Place 2 teaspoons of the sauce on top of each oyster, if they are medium-size (a little more if they are larger, a little less if they are smaller).
  27. The mixture should almost, but not quite, cover the meat of the oyster.
  28. Place the pans with the oysters in the oven and cook about 20 minutes, until there is a lively bubbling at the edges of the oysters.
  29. When the oysters are done, let them cool for 2 minutes, then, wearing rubber gloves or with the help of a large spoon, carefully transfer 6 oysters to each of the salt-lined dinner plates.
  30. Garnish each plate with a lemon wedge and serve immediately.
  31. **Alternative cooking method: preheat broiler; place one pan under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the oysters are bubbling on top; repeat with second pan; proceed as directed.

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