Slipperies. That’s what our Toronto friends tend to call oysters (for obvious reasons), and slipperies are something they order fairly regularly. Since Jan and I are fans of oysters as well, we also order fresh slipperies (served on the half shell, with a squirt of lemon) when we get the chance. But during a recent lunch at O Moulin, in Carsac, I got quite a surprise when I chose oysters for my entrée.
For this lunch, we were with good friends Elisabeth and Gerhard. After ordering a kir to begin, we four chatted away about the choices on the 49-euro menu. I think I spent most of my decision-making capacity trying to choose between the roast lamb and the fish as my main course (I went with the lamb).
But for me, picking the entrée was easy: I saw the words Huitres fines de Claire No. 2, and stopped thinking. I had noted quickly on the menu that there was some mention of a sauce, but I figured that the sauce would be something poured over the half-dozen oysters I was expecting.
What was set down before me looked like a small tidal pool, nestled in a bowl. There was a foamy sauce surrounding the food at the centre, and the scene was dotted with small orange pieces of coral, which were actually made of crispy pastry. Here it is:
When I later went back to check the restaurant’s online menu, I found that after Huitres fines de Claire No.2 came the words … servies tiède. Sauce Monbazillac et viandes des grisons séchées. That is, the oysters were served warm (having been poached), and the sauce was made with the sweet Monbazillac wine from the Bergerac area. Also on the dish were tiny pieces of grisons, a cured, air-dried beef product made in Switzerland.
It was delightful and delicious, as well as surprising. And it just confirmed, once again, that Nicolas Aujoux is one terrifically creative, and artistic, chef.