Stage 1, Passage du Gois - Mont des Alouettes: Gabriel welcomes viewers to Taste Le Tour 2011 from the beautiful Atlantic coast in the Vendée region. We discover the local fish and specialities, and, on the island of Noirmoutier just a few metres from the starting point of the 2011 Tour de France, he meets some home cooks harvesting shellfish during low tide. In the kitchen, Gabriel makes a delicate dish of poached oysters in chive sauce served with new season potatoes.
6 new baby potatoes
about 50 g butter, cut into cubes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
100 ml dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cream
12 freshly opened oysters
2 tbsp finely cut chives
½ cup mixed baby green leaves and herbs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until just done. Peel potatoes and keep warm in water.
Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook, over medium heat, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and about 2 tablespoons of white wine. Season with pepper and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated.
Add cream to shallots and bring to a simmer. Whisk in remaining butter, bit by bit, until creamy. Remove pan from heat and stir in chives.
Cut each potato in half and scoop out a teaspoon of flesh from the centre.
Bring the remaining wine to a simmer in a second pan, then gently place the oysters in the pan and poach for about 20 seconds. Turn off heat, drain oysters and place in the sauce. Add the cut chives.
Place 6 potato halves on two plates. Top each potato half with an oyster and spoon over a little sauce. Garnish the centre of the plate with a few green leaves and serve.