Sunday, February 24, 2008

Broiled (Grilled) Oysters with Garlic Butter

The romantic and luxurious image of oysters was not always so - they were at one time the food of the poor, but when I lived in England, they were very expensive, and difficult to obtain, except in the most exclusive stores (such as Harrods Food Hall in London - not everyone's local supermarket). This was due to the fact that much of the shellfish caught off the British coastline was never sold in Britain, but instead shipped directly for sale in the rest of Europe where demand for shellfish was much higher. Now I live in California, it is very easy to obtain all manner of seafood and shellfish from the local supermarkets which means I have the opportunity to eat .

However, I am one of those people who is kind of squeamish when it comes to oysters. I eat practically everything else, but the texture of raw oysters is something I have never quite got used to. I know most gourmets consider that oysters are best eaten raw in order to get that sea-salty fresh taste - all you need is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash of Tabasco sauce and you're done. If you are like me, and not quite sure about the raw deal, there are many
for broiling and baking oysters which I would highly recommend. The recipe below is for Broiled Oysters with Garlic Butter (if you are in the UK, you would call these Grilled Oysters), but as opening (or ) the oysters is often quite a challenge, I have outlined how to do this below.

1. First take a dish-towel in one hand to help you take a grip of the oyster.

2. Grasp the oyster firmly, making sure it lies flat side up in your palm.

3. Insert the blade of an oyster knife, (or short, stout knife, if an oyster knife is not available) into the hinge of the oyster, and prise open.

4. As you are separating the shells, slide in the oyster knife and cut the oyster free from the top and bottom of the shells.

5. Take care to keep in the juice and remove any flakes of shell that may have fallen on top of the oyster.

6. The oyster is now ready to serve.

OK, now we've got the oysters shucked, we're ready to make the Broiled (Grilled) Oysters with Garlic Butter!

  • 16 Oysters
  • 4 oz Butter, softened
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 3-4 Tablespoons roughly chopped English parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon wedges, crusty bread and butter to serve

1. Open the oysters, as illustrated above, and arrange the shells with the oysters in a baking dish, taking care not to spill the juice. (To keep the oysters upright, you could stand them in thick slices of bread in which you have cut out round shapes to cradle the shells and keep them steady).

2. Cream the butter and garlic together, add the parsley and beat in.

3. Place a knob of this butter on each oyster, then a good sprinkling of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

4. Place under the broiler for no more than 2 minutes.

5. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and crusty bread and butter.

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