I have excuses, but I not any good ones. I’ve been cooking and photographing, but not writing. Partially this is because I’ve been back in the US for a few weeks and work is keeping me very busy and I am spending my free time visiting family and catching up with friends. The other reason is that my tech-set up was horrid. Admittedly, I’m spoiled at home where my dear husbanders has a command center set up for me, but crouching over a small 10 inch netbook from 2010 just wasn’t
inspiring me to write. This all changed 3 days ago, when my shiny new MacBook Air arrived. It sounds so ridiculous, but when I turned it on for the first time, hearing the chime and seeing the space image on the desktop and all the familiar dock icons, a warm feeling rushed over me. I felt at home again, even from my small, temporary, corporate apartment. If I was in advertising, I’d be thinking of ways to capture that moment in a commercial. Anyhoo, I’m not getting paid by Apple, so let’s get to the food!
Despite being in a tiny corporate apartment, I’ve got a lot of new recipes to share. This one is a long time coming and I’m glad I’m finally getting to it. My best friend Julie, featured in my Bestie Guest Chef post, has a wonderfully warm and generous Irish family who invited me to relax, drink, and eat our way through dozens of oysters over Labor Day weekend. We spent the weekend in their laid-back vacation home on one of the tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. It was a weekend of glutton with good company, and the oysters were center stage. Julie’s aunt and uncle farm their own oysters in the brackish waters. We gathered, scrubbed, schucked, and slurped. These were the freshest oysters I’d ever eaten, with no more than 20 minutes passing from the time we took them out of the water and into my stomach!
I’m a superfan of raw oysters, but with the never-ending supply of fresh oysters, we enjoyed oysters 3 ways. Raw, Rockefeller, and Fried. Honestly, the raw ones were my favorite, but these methods were the gold, silver, and bronze of oysters. We had a lovely mignonette sauce with the raw oysters, but when they are this fresh, I could hardly pause to use the sauce, I just wanted to slurp and keep slurping.
What is your favorite way to enjoy oysters?
MIGNONETTE SAUCE (adapated from Bon Appetit)
This sauce is great for fresh seafood, but it is traditionally served with raw oysters. Just stir together ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons of minced shallots, and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
GRILLED OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER (Thank you Kerri P!)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded parmesan
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Approximately 3 dozen raw oysters, on the half shell
In a saute pan, heat oil or butter over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes, until the spinach is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top the oysters with the spinach mixture, then sprinkle over with parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Place the oysters with with the shells on a hot grill for about 5-6 minutes, until the oysters are just cooked through and the edges are curled. The cooking time will depend on the size of the oysters so keep an eye on them. Don’t overcook!
FRIED OYSTERS (Thank you Ginny!)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Approximately 2 dozen, raw oysters, shucked and rinsed (rinsing ensures that no little pieces of shell remain)
In a large zip lock bag combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using. Prepare one bowl for the lightly beaten egg and one bowl with the panko bread crumbs. Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot to 360F. We used a FryDaddy and if you have one deep frying is fun and easy with this little guy.
Places the raw oysters in the zip lock bag with the flour mixture to lightly dredge the oyster. Then dip the the oyster in the egg, and finish by coating with the panko bread crumbs.
Carefully place the oysters into the hot oil (it will splatter so be careful). Cook, turning occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until the oyster is golden brown. Place the cooked oyster on paper towels to cool slightly.
ENJOY THOSE OYSTERS!