Former Bordeaux restaurateur and now home caterer Georges Gotrand's elegant dishes often reassuringly involve liberal additions of sweet wine to the pot as well as the glass.
Open half a dozen large (or 8-10 small) oysters over a sieve, placed over a bowl to catch their juices, which add an intriguing note to the dressing. Wash and dry the empty shells for the final presentation and arrange on a bed of snowy sea-salt. You'll only need one half of each shell, but the empty halves make a nice garnish, either alongside the filled ones or buried face-down in the salt.
Melt a little butter and fry a generous teaspoon each of bashed and minced lemongrass with the same quantity each of finely chopped shallot and fresh ginger until softened. Pour in 100ml Sauternes. Let the mixture bubble and reduce to a tablespoon or so of liquid.
Add 50ml single cream and simmer until visibly thickened. Now add the oyster juices and bring back to the boil. Add the oysters and poach them very gently and briefly in the liquor, for anything from 15 seconds (the chef's' suggestion) to a minute or so, depending on size. Finish with a little more butter and some finely chopped coriander.
Deploy your oysters on the half-shell on a bed of snowy white sea-salt, garnished, if you like, with the empty half-shells. Spoon the cooking liquid over each oyster before serving.
> Serve with a glass of Sauternes or Barsac.
Janet Wynne Evans