Try this elegant and rustic appetizer that’s sure to impress guests. The oysters are served atop a bed of creamy beans with a fresh green bean pesto.
Soak the controne beans for 12 hours in water. The next day, cook them in the same water over high heat for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, celery, carrot, onion, and bacon, and cook until golden. Remove from heat and discard everything from the pan except for the oil. Add the beans to the same pan and dilute with the beef or chicken broth. Cook for a few minutes. Then, blend in a food processor until a fluid consistency is achieved (if necessary add some of the bean cooking liquid). Set aside, and clean out the bowl of the food processor.
Bring a small pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the green beans, and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp tender. Drain them immediately and shock in a small bowl of ice water.
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the garlic in the olive oil and discard the garlic once golden. Add the green beans to the same skillet and continue cooking briefly. Add the oregano, transfer to a food processor, and process until chopped finely. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Extract the seeds from the tomatoes and reserve the flesh for another use. Shuck the oysters, taking care not to spill the juice, and leave them in the shell. Reserve the top halves of the shells as well. Sprinkle the oysters with the tomato seeds, basil, olive oil, and oregano, to taste, and cover them again with the top halves of the shells. Transfer to a baking sheet, place in the oven, and bake for about 4 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 225 degrees.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and stir-fry the bread for a few minutes. Then, toast in the oven until crispy, about 6 minutes.
To serve, divide the oysters among 4 shallow bowls. Coat the bottom of each bowl with the cream of beans, and place 2 oysters in the center. Top the oysters with quenelles of green bean pesto and garnish with toasted bread. Finish with olive oil and a dash of star anise.