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12 pieces brioche or challah, cut into 2 x 1-inch rectangles
Unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. smoked bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 qts. canola oil
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. white pepper
4 Tbs. kale pesto (recipe follows)
2 dozen oysters, freshly shucked, liquor removed
Brush bread with butter on both sides and season with salt and pepper. In a large, non-stick skillet, toast bread over medium heat for two minutes per side.
Cook bacon in a sauté pan over medium heat until crispy, three to four minutes.
Put oil in a large pot and heat to 350°F.
Lightly coat each piece of toast with pesto. Place three to four pieces of bacon on top of pesto. Season cornmeal with one teaspoon of salt and white pepper. Lightly dredge oysters in seasoned cornmeal. Working in batches, gently place them in oil for 45 seconds. Remove with a spider skimmer or slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt and white pepper. Place an oyster on top of each bruschetta and serve immediately.
For the kale pesto:
(Makes 1 ½ cup)
1/2 lb. favorite kale, stems removed, rinsed well, patted dry, and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 oil-packed anchovies
1 Tbs. capers
1 ½ tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ tsp. black pepper
Bring one gallon of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Make an ice bath with a large bowl of equal amounts water and ice. When boiling, add kale and basil and cook for one minute. Remove with a spider skimmer or slotted spoon and immediately place them in the ice bath to stop further cooking. When kale and basil are cool, drain and squeeze all the water out.
Combine next four ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add kale, basil, and Parmesan and process. Add salt and pepper. Use immediately or remove to a container, pour a light coating of olive oil on top, cover, and refrigerate up to a week.