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Sunday, September 8, 2013

How To Roast Oysters the Easy Way

I love oysters.  No, not as pets but as edible creatures.  I was just reading something about how we are killing our oceans by overfishing.  Mark my words, soon sushi will be a crime, available only to the elite and politicians.  But I also read that eating shellfish is still OK.  Clams, mussels, and oysters are all smack in the middle of my hit list. With that in mind I went to my local fish market and picked up a dozen.

Raw oysters are a buck apiece - not bad when you figure a restaurant will charge you anywhere from $2 to $3 per oyster.  Cook them and they charge $3 to $4.   I used to eat a lot of raw oysters but always felt like I was playing a little ocean roulette with food poisoning.  I'm an expert in food poisoning and oysters cause the worst!  So let's cook them and take out all the worry. When you buy them it's a good idea to tell the fish guy you're going to cook them so he will give you the larger ones.  Little ones are good raw, bigger ones better for cooking.

I got this handy oyster shucker thing that takes about 50% of the risk out of slicing open your hand.  Seriously, be careful!  If you don't know how to shuck an oyster it's not that hard but it helps to be patient and to not be drinking.  Put that beer down. No, don't drink it first.  I know from experience.

You pry into the hinge area and once you have it sunk in you move the knife around the edges of the oyster.  See how I have a towel just in case?

Scrape the top of the shell to loosen the creature and then do the same on the bottom.  Try not to spill the juice inside.  And for all of you raw only oyster people, seriously, that does not look all the good to eat.  But I will fix that.

This might take a while so I stop and put on some vinyl - how about a little Wings at the Speed of Sound?  I remember buying this album in 1976 and thinking this was the worst McCartney album of all time, but history has shown that he could actually make worse albums.  By today's standards it's damn near a classic.  OK, Linda is singing Cook of the House so let's get back to the oysters.

Since I'm going to roast them I put them all into a cupcake tin to balance them.  Pretty goddamn clever!  And I thought of it!  Now that you have them all shucked you need to add some stuff.

Thankfully the ingredient list is short.  Mince some shallots, get some butter, grate some parmesan cheese, and chop finely some parsley.  Wait a second, that butter looks like something.

What is it?  A bunny?  A doggy? 

OK, enough goofing around.  Take some butter, just a little, and some shallots and put it in each oyster.  Top it with some cheese.

That's probably too much cheese but this isn't rocket science.  Use more, use less, it really doesn't matter.  Now pop it into your oven on broil (500 degrees) on one of the upper racks.  I don't use the very top one because it will burn too fast, but that depends on your oven.

Set the chicken timer to 5 minutes.  Flip the record.  OMG, Paul is singing some horrible song right now! But there's no skip button on a record so just go with it, it won't kill you.

Check in 5 and if the cheese isn't all brown and melted then put the oysters on the very top rack and cook for a couple more minutes - but watch it!

Pulled straight from the oven, here they are with that fresh parsley on top.  But be careful, shells are hot.  No, I'm serious.  The shells are scorching hot so unless you want your guests spitting these across the room as they melt their lips, wait a few minutes.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  OK, want a closer look? 

Oh my, these are delicious!  A little lemon and you're good to go - don't ruin them with hot sauce.  Mmmm, I swear, even if you think you won't like them you will. The buttery shallots and the rich cheese mix so well with the oyster, which has transformed from a weird slimy thingy into a plump, tasty sea bite.  Think you only like your oysters raw?  Try these and I bet you will change your mind.  And the nice thing is that there is no way you can get food poisoning and you are eating a creature that isn't in danger of becoming extinct.  Nice!  Tasty!  Easy!

He's been so patient.

See, even Andy likes it!  No, not the shell!  Drop it, Andy!!!!

What's that noise?  Ahhh, time to take off that lousy McCartney album.  I love that album.  And I really love these roasted oysters.  You have to trust me - try making these and you'll be thanking me. 

Happy Cooking (and Eating),

Local Wally

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