Roasted Oysters with Herb Butter (Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiac)
The first time I made oysters was about 5 years ago. I was moving into my 3rd or maybe 4th apartment in the 3 years I had been living in Milan. By that time I had accumulated massive amounts of stuff. But at least I was getting good at this moving thing.
So instead of bothering about packing up my refrigerated goods, I made sure I had eaten just about everything that would have hurt to throw away. Before moving I sat online and order food from my favorite supermarket to be delivered a few hours after I had hopefully settled into my newest apartment.
Now I realize that a sane person would have said to themselves and the significant other they were showing how to mop because the silly Italian mammone had never held a mop in his two well groomed hands in his life… , “Let’s order a pizza tonight” or maybe “We can go grab a bite to eat at the restaurant around the block”.
But no, there I was trying to shuck oysters, in my still not fully unpacked, but at least mopped apartment. LOL. I mean don’t remember the process being absolutely horrendous but I don’t recall saying to myself, “Let’s do this again!” either.
So now 5 years later, as I was thinking of a menu for Valentine’s Day, I knew there would be no shucking involved. It was also absolutely imperative that absolutely NO food poisoning be involved. I mean who wants to give their significant other food poising especially on Valentine’s day!
I also have to admit that I like slaving away for hours in the kitchen. For me it’s relaxing and satisfying. (I realize many people don’t feel this way.) But even I don’t think any woman or even any man should be slaving away in the kitchen for hours on Valentine’s Day. For me, the menu should be simple, relatively easy and elegant. That way when it’s all said and done you/me/we aren’t frazzled looking a hot mess when we sit down to eat. And well the meal should also be light and easy to digest, so you/me/we can be ready for the activities to come during the hopefully next few hours of the night. 😉
With all this in mind, I’m suggesting “Roasted Oysters” as an appetizer for dinner. It’s sexy, it’s sophisticated and it’s ready in about 15 minutes plus the time to preheat the oven. Oh and since these oysters are cooked, you know that ones that open up are safe to eat, and the ones that don’t should be discarded… So no food poising in the near future….
8 fresh oysters
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chives, finely chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch of black pepper
approx. 3 lbs (1.5 kg) fine salt
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Pour 2 lbs. (1kg) of salt onto a large flat baking dish. Wash and scrub oysters of any unsightly things (dirt, sea weed etc.) Make sure to discard any oysters that may be open at this point in time.
3. Place closed oysters one by one onto the baking sheet filled with salt, with the curved part of the shell facing down. (The salt is used to stabilize the shells so their liquid does not run out while cooking.)
4. Bake for about 10 minutes until the oyster open, even if just slightly.
5. While the oysters are roasting, chop (if you haven’t already done so) and mix remaining ingredients. Pour into a small bowl that is pretty enough to be placed on your (Valentine’s Day) table. Add a spoon for serving.
6. Once 10 (max. 15) minutes are up DISCARD ANY OYSTERS THAT DON’T OPEN. (Yes, this is the opposite of what I said before… Before cooking, any oysters that do not remain firmly shut are off/spoiled and should be discarded. After cooking, any oysters that don’t open are off/spoiled and should be discarded.)
7. Use a large spoon and make small mounds of salt on your serving dish(es). The mounds of salt should be equal to the amount of oysters that survived the precooking and after cooking inspections.
8. Use a spoon, blunt knife or hands to completely open the oysters, being careful not to spill any of its natural liquid. Place open oysters on salt mounds. Serve with herb butter sauce on the side. Enjoy!
8(b). Now if you want to be extra special. Place a strainer lined with a clean paper towel over a small bowl or container, preferably with a spout. Strain oyster liquid into container. This way you can get rid of any bits of sand that may be hiding in the oyster water. Now finish opening the oysters. Place on mounds of salt. Pour liquid back into the shells. Serve with herb butter sauce on the side. Enjoy!