Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Valentine's Appetizer

They say the way to a man's (or woman's) heart is through the stomach. With that in mind, here's an incredibly delicious heart-healthy meal from the Rittenhouse Cookbook by Jim Coleman (Ten Speed Press). Here I tease you with an appetizer of "Married-Ten-Years Purse with Oysters, Spinach, and Tomato Coulis." Check out the main course at Petit Filet with Lobster.


Rittenhouse Cookbook Valentine's Dinner:

Married-Ten-Years Purse
with Oysters, Spinach, and Tomato Coulis

Oyster Purse

The present-like purse, the aphrodisiac reputation of the oysters, and the Valentine's red of the coulis all add to the spirit of this special dish. And speaking of marriage, if ever two flavors and textures were suited to each other, it's spinach and oysters, which share a subtle, iron-like taste and a soft, smooth texture. It's important not to overcook either one. Use large oysters for this recipe because they tend to cook better than smaller ones and you don't want them to dry out. I prefer domestic varieties from the West Coast such as West Coast Bay or Washington oysters.

Serves: 4


2 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper


8 freshly shucked oysters, liquor reserved
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 sheets phyllo dough

Combine all of the coulis ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, and puree until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, set aside, and keep warm.

To prepare the purses, heat a nonstick saute pan, add the oysters, and quickly saute for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Remove the oysters from the pan and reserve. Add the olive oil, garlic, shallots, spinach, and oyster liquor to the pan and quickly saute over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl and fold in the dill and black pepper. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Lay out a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface and lightly brush with water. Top with another phyllo sheet, brush with water, and repeat for the remaining phyllo sheets, stacking them as you go. Cut the stacked phyllo into 4 equal squares. Divide the spinach mixture between the middle of the phyllo squares and place 2 oysters on top of each portion of spinach. Bring the corners of each square inwards, meeting in the center, and then pinch the dough together to seal tightly. Transfer the phyllo purses to a nonstick baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the warm coulis in the center of each serving plate and place the purses in the center of the coulis.

Note: When selecting oysters, buy only those with tightly closed shells or whose shells close when tapped. If you buy shucked oysters, be sure they are plump, cream colored, and packed in clear, not milky, liquid; the liquid should account for less than 10 percent of their weight. Although oysters vary in size, flavor, texture, and sodium content, 3 ounces of raw oysters contain on average 59 calories, 6 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 47 milligrams of cholesterol. And 95 milligrams of sodium.

Nutritional information per serving:

Total Calories: 109
Total Fat: 3 gm.
Saturated Fat: 0.4 gm.
Cholesterol: 97 mg.
Sodium: 236 mg.
Fiber Rating: 1 gm.

The Rittenhouse Cookbook
by Jim Coleman
Ten Speed Press, $29.95 cloth
234 pages; 1997
ISBN: 0-89815-864-8
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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