There are so many different ways to eat oysters, and oyster eaters’ preferences vary. Many people are purists, and just like to eat them straight. Lots of people, most of our friends included, like a squeeze of lemon and a drop or two of hot sauce.
Mignonette sauce is my favorite and works well if you want to be fancy. We have had parties where guests can raid our pantry, or bring their own ingredients, and each person creates their own oyster recipe. Then we take turns presenting our recipes and everyone tastes and then votes for a winner. We call it Iron Oyster Chef, or Oyster Iron Chef. We’ve never gotten that name right, really.
I once tried baked oysters with Brie and crumbled bacon. I thought it would be delicious and that I would be the clear winner, but it was awful. It was salty on top of salty on top of salty. Live and learn, I guess.
Anyway, here are a couple of our favorites that actually ARE good. We’d love to hear about your creations; please shoot us an email or post to our facebook page if you come up with something good. Or something bad. We’re always up for a laugh, too!
This simple sauce is perfect with raw oysters, and can be endlessly customized. Experiment with different vinegars, herbs, and add-ons. I love it made with champagne vinegar, tarragon, finely diced strawberries and sometimes some finely diced cucumber, but here is the basic recipe to get you started. Any add-ons should be diced as small as you can get them.
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs VERY finely diced shallot
- Cracked black pepper
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to a few days before serving. Stir before serving. Just put a few drops on each oyster right before you eat it.
I often make these as an appetizer or a whole meal; it’s a perfect way to use up any leftover oysters!
You can either start with raw oysters, or you can steam them until they just barely pop open (500 degrees for 8-10 min or so). This will make them easier to shuck and won’t affect the flavor. Make sure to separate the adductor muscle from the shell before stuffing and baking the oysters. This will make them much easier to eat.
- 24 oysters, shucked, separated from shell, and placed back into the half shell.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 4 cups fresh washed spinach. (You can also use frozen or canned but you don’t need as much and make sure to get all the water out. This isn’t exact science so just use your judgement).
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- Juice of half a lemon
- Parmesan cheese
Put oven on broil, and prepare all of your oysters on the half shell in a single layer on a baking sheet. In a large skillet, put 2 tsp olive oil and heat it up on medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant and softened. Add the spinach and lemon juice and cook til the spinach has wilted down. Add the cream cheese and stir until the cream cheese is melted and everything is combined. Try to resist the urge to add salt because the bacon, Parmesan, and oysters will all be salty. You can add a little pinch if you really really want to. Spoon some of the cream cheese mixture onto each oyster, then top with some some crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese. Broil until the Parmesan is melted and starts to brown and the edges get a little bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes and serve. Be careful with the shells- they’ll still be hot.