This delicate and exciting dish requires very little cooking; once the pastry is made, the rest is easy. The addition of the vegetables gives the dish a little ‘crunch’.
Cut the carrot, leek and celery into fine julienne about 5 cm/2 inches long. Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of 5 mm/¼ inch. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out 4 oval shapes, about 10 x 7.5 cm/4 x 3 inches. Lay these on a baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk mixed with the milk. Lightly mark a line 5 mm/¼ inch in from the edge all the way round for the lid. Leave in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to rest, then bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. When cooked, cut along the line you marked in the pastry and remove the lids. Keep the cases warm.
Carefully open the oysters over a bowl to catch any juice. Strain the juice through muslin into a saucepan and add the fish stock. Reduce over a high heat until syrupy. Add the cream and the lemon juice, return to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and gradually add the butter, saving about 10 g/¼ oz to heat the spinach. Whisk continuously until all the butter has melted. Stir in the vegetables, oysters and green peppercorns and soak these in the sauce for a minute over a very low heat; do not allow the sauce to boil or even simmer.
Reheat the cases in the oven for 30 seconds. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and add the spinach, lightly season with salt and pepper and toss in the butter until hot.
Place a little spinach in the bottom of each case. Spoon 3 oysters into each case on top of the spinach and spoon 3 more onto the plate next to the case. Top both the oysters in the cases and the oysters on the plates with a few vegetables, pour the sauce around the plate, put the lids in place and serve quickly.
© 1989 Ian McAndrew. All rights reserved.