I'm not good at eating oysters au naturel, just can't swallow the damned things - ugh! But give me an oyster wrapped in a rasher of bacon and grilled and I'm in heaven. A light cooking really changes the texture and, for me, enhances the sea-y-ness of them.
Sometime late last year we were watching Masterchef the Professionals and Michel Roux was doing his classics on which the contestants would later be tested. We really liked the look of the oysters and decided to have them as our Christmas day starter being as this year it was just the two of ourselves for dinner and no one else's tastes had to be taken into consideration. Whilst we had them for Christmas they would be perfect for Valentine's day either, after all oysters are aphrodisiacs.
Billy got the job of shucking the oysters, the job made all the easier with an oyster shucking knife we got down town in my fave kitchen shop - Utensils.
When you're shucking your oysters take care! An oyster knife really is an essential bit of kit for the job.
Using the oyster knife, pry open the oyster shells, then remove the oysters. Discard the top shells; scrub and dry the bottom shells. Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor.
My recipes are for 6 of each of the Rockefeller and the Kilpatrick. I couldn't find Michel's recipes online but watched the show again on You tube here to get an idea of what was what!
6 fresh oysters on the half shell
1 tablespoons finely shallot
1 tablespoon Pernod
Approx 150ml cream
Approx 150ml cream
1 Egg Yolk
In a large saucepan, gently heat the oysters in their juices for a minute or so. Remove the oysters. Strain the juice through a fine sieve. set aside.
To a pan add the shallot, and the Pernod. Heat for a couple of minutes so that the alcohol is burned off and the wonderful aniseed flavour of the pernod remains, add the cream. Heat and allow to reduce a little.
Wilt the spinach in some hot water, drain, squeeze out excess water and chop finely. grate in some nutmeg. Add some of the cream/pernod mix to the spinach to loosen it.
Divide the spinach between the 6 oyster shells Place the oysters on top. Michel's tip was to place the oysters back in the shell in the way they came out.
Add the egg yolk to the cream/pernod mixture and whisk in. Pour over the 6 oysters.
Grill under a hot grill till browning and bubbling.
6 Oysters shucked.
Couple of rashers of bacon, very finely chopped
6 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs.
Some soft butter.
Fry the bacon till crispy, add the breadcrumbs to the bacon. Put about 2/3 of this aside in a bowl.
To the remaining third add a couple of splashes each of tabasco and worcestershire sauce.
Divide this mixture between the 6 oyster shells.
Place the oysters on top.
Cover this with the reserved crumb mixture.
Add a knob of butter on top.
Place under a hot grill until browned.
To stabilise the oysters on the plate I put a very generous sprinkling of sea salt which I dampened slightly.