February 27, 2013

Oysters beyond Rockefeller

Raw shellfish lovers may object, but there's a lot to be said for cooking the meat. Oyster pie, anyone?

By C. W. Cameron / McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 2)

Oysters beyond Rockefeller
click image to enlarge

Oysters Alexander, foreground, and oyster pie. Only five species of oysters are harvested for eating. “The oyster from the Chesapeake Bay is the same species of oyster as the one from the Delaware Bay and on up to Maine and New Brunswick, Canada,” explains seafood wholesaler Robert Pidgeon. “The flavor variation comes from the season, the salinity of the water they’re growing in and even the way the tides fluctuate. There are any number of variables that determine that oyster’s flavor.”

McClatchy Newspapers photos

Oysters beyond Rockefeller
click image to enlarge

Fried oyster salad.


Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: Six

If you're shucking the oysters yourself, be certain to use the right equipment. An oyster shucking knife, not a butter knife or steak knife, is essential, and will make shucking the oysters easier and safer.

In this recipe, the oysters are baked in their bottom shell, which is cupped and will hold the oysters, their liquor and the melted butter. Be very careful not to cook the oysters too long. If they've shrunk, you've overcooked them. Rock salt is available at many grocery stores and is also sold as "ice cream" salt.

¼ cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 shallots, peeled

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon brandy

1 teaspoon pepper

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Rock salt

18 oysters in shells, scrubbed, shucked and top shells discarded

Lemon wedges, chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter pine nuts on pie plate and bake until golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pine nuts from oven and increase temperature to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine toasted pine nuts with garlic, shallots, parsley, chives, lemon juice, brandy and pepper. Process until finely chopped. Add butter and pulse just until blended. Bits of all ingredients should still be visible. Set aside.

Line a roasting pan or ovenproof serving dish with ½ inch of rock salt. Arrange oysters on salt and divide butter among oysters. Bake until oysters just begin to firm up and butter melts, about 8 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and chopped chives, if desired. Serve immediately. Discard rock salt after serving.

Adapted from a recipe provided by Vicky Murphy, Inland Seafood.

Per serving: 266 calories (89 percent from fat), 4 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, trace fiber, 27 g fat (15 g saturated), 76 mg cholesterol, 33 mg sodium.


Total time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 cup

If you can't find Meyer lemons (they're in season right now) substitute 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon orange juice.

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice

¼ cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan, mayonnaise and garlic. Whisk together, taste for seasoning. May be made ahead and refrigerated up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.

Adapted from a recipe provided by Vicky Murphy, Inland Seafood.

Per 1-tablespoon serving: 68 calories (94 percent from fat), 1 g protein, trace carbohydrates, trace fiber, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium.


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