Please read Understanding Seafood Part1 on selecting and preparing seafood for tips on knowing fresh seafoods, how to handle them, clean them ...etc
Oysters can be served plain with a squeeze of lemon juice, and I find this to be the best way to serve oysters. I like to really taste the sea (oysters taste of the sea). They can also be served with a sauce on the side of vinegar and chopped shallots. Not every one is into this plain oysters and lemon option as the flavour is unmasked. I have also found that an Oysters Rockefeller is an easier introduction to Oysters for those who are weary! And for the love of Oysters I am sharing this recipe with you hoping it will encourage you to try them out.
Whichever way you decide to go, just make sure you try and try till you find your palate. Don't just give up from the first try!
24 fresh oysters in the shells*
3 tbsp melted butter
2 bunches baby spinach leaves, torn
1 small medium, finely chopped
2 handfuls of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
a few drops Tabasco (optional)
*You can ask the person in the seafood section to open the oyster shells for you if it makes your life easier. But it is much better to open them yourself and keep them protected in their shells till you are ready to cook. Juts follow the method in the picture and described below.
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, 1tbsp melted butter and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
In a saucepan, cook onion and spinach in 500 ml of boiling water until tender (about 2-3 minutes). drain well and press excess moisture out by squeezing the spinach leaves.
Now, thoroughly wash oyster shells. Place an oyster at a time on a clean kitchen towel, where all sides of shell are covered by towels and not in contact with your skin (this is because the shell can be sharp and might cut your skin, this way you keep your hands safe).
Using an oyster knife Open the shells of the oysters by inserting the knife into the hinge between the shells (check drawn picture above for hinge).
Move your blade along the inside of the upper shell to release the muscle while twisting to open it.
Then slide the knife under the oyster flesh to release it from the bottom of the shell.
Or you can use a metal glove to protect your hands
Remove oysters from shells, discard the top part but keep the bottom deep part of the shells. Wash the bottom shells thoroughly with water. Replace oysters back in the shells. line a shallow baking pan with rock salt (rock sea salt), and arrange prepared shells on top. If you do not have access to rock salt, then crumble up a large piece of foil paper and place on the baking pan, then place oysters on top. the salt | foil paper will be a base to hold oysters in place, so they don't wiggle and tip to the side.
In a separate bowl, combine spinach and onions with 2 tbsp melted butter, hot sauce, garlic and freshly ground black pepper, toss to mix well. spoon 1 tsp of the spinach mixture on top of each oyster, and top all with prepared bread crumb mixture. bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes (the edges of the oyster muscle will begin to curl). serve warm.
Another way for baking oysters will be to follow the directions above, except do not add spinach & breadcrumb mixtures, instead top oysters with flavoured butter (flavour with spices or herbs as you like). bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and serve warm.
Do you like Oysters? If you do what is your preferred way to have them? If you don't, do you think you will at least give it a try? Would you try the Oyster Rockefeller Recipe above? I would love nothing more than hearing your thoughts! Please do leave a comment...