I just did the internet equivalent of dusting off my blog -- deleting all of the comments posted by spam sites looking to boost their SEO rankings. At least I think they're spam as I can't imagine Viagra Online, one of my most prolific commenters, was really that into What's She Eating Now.
In any event, just because I have been gone for a while doesn't mean I haven't been cooking up a storm and eating everything in my path. Here is a quick recipe that is easy and fun to make and an entertaining crowd pleaser that will impress your guests: Oysters Rockafeller. It really does not take as long as then lengthy instructions would imply so give it a try.
Step one: procure oysters
Pick up some oysters at your fish market and an oyster knife if you don't own one. Mid-size oysters that are neither too creamy or briny work well, like a blue point for example. For an amuse one or two per person is a good number, for an app 6 per person. If you are not making the oysters right away refrigerate with a slightly damp paper towel placed loosely over the shells, do not keep in a plastic bag as the oysters need to breathe.
Prepare a sheet pan either using salt to line the whole bottom to hold the oysters in place or you can use tin foil to line the bottom and also to create little foil stands to hold the oysters in place. If you're entertaining go for the salt, it is a great presentation.
Step two: make sauce
Take a stick of unsalted butter out of the fridge for later use and pre heat the oven to 400.
Make some bacon and cook until crispy.
Sautee some breadcrumbs in a little butter (or even a little bacon grease) to toast, this step is not essential but it makes it even better.
Chop parsley, watercress, green onion and garlic-- mixture should be mostly watercress but don't be shy with the other ingredients. Exact proportions don't matter, channel your inner chef and do it by feel and taste. Also, you'll see many variations when you look this recipe up. They are all delicious.
Put this mis-en-place aside and shuck your oysters.
Step three: shuck oysters
First make sure all the oysters are alive. If they are open, tap them lightly. If they close they are good. If not, toss them. The ones firmly shut are also good to go.Wipe with a damp cloth to remove any schmutz.
Use a dish towel to wrap around the open side of the oyster to hold it down firmly against the counter. Jam the oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster and work it in until you can pop it open. Keep the knife in and run along the very top, flat part of the shell to separate the oyster as it is connected at top and bottom. Take care not to tear the oyster itself.
Use the knife to separate on the bottom too and place on the sheet pan to wait to be sauced. Do not lose the oyster juice.
Step four: back to the sauce
Melt a stick of unsalted butter in a saucier like this one. Depending on how many oysters you are doing you can melt the butter while you're shucking. Add the garlic first. When you can smell a nice garlicky butter smell add the rest of the veggies. Cook them down a bit then add chopped crispy bacon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Sauce the oysters and then sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top. Cook for 10-12 minutes, sauce should be bubbling. Serve, enjoy!