This marvelous appetizer was created by Chef Greg Sonnier at his New Orleans restaurant Gabrielle; both the restaurant and the dish are named after Greg and Mary Sonnier's daughter.
Place the lemon halves and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot of boiling water. Add the artichokes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large artichokes
- 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped (white part only)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 16 to 20 large oysters, plus oyster liquor
Drain and allow to cool. Pull off the leaves, and scrape off the artichoke flesh at the ends. Dig out the inedible fuzzy choke with a spoon; dice the artichoke heart. Set aside with the reserved scraped flesh.
Heat the oven to 450F. In a medium saute pan or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook the pancetta until brown; add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the butter. Saute the green onions, garlic and parsley unitl tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the diced artichokes and lemon juice. If the dressing seems dry, add some oyster liquor to moisten. Saute for about 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat, add 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese and toss lightly.
Place 4 or 5 oysters into individual casseroles or ramekins. Top with the artichoke dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until browned, 10-15 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of Hollandaise sauce over the dressing. Serves 4.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)