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Oyster Appetizers, Recipes and Wine Pairings

September 6th, 2017

By Betha Merit

Appetizers are multifold fun. They get the party started by whetting your appetite and teasing your tastebuds. And they can also be served as a meal in tandem with another small plate of food or two. Another idea is to plan a small gathering and have everyone bring their favorite hors d’oeuvres with a paired wine. For the following oyster recipes we suggest pairing with bubbles, from Champagne to sparkling rosé. And any crisp white wine such as Chablis or Sancerre will also pair nicely. Enjoy.

baked oyster recipe Oyster Appetizers, Recipes and Wine Pairings

Crispy Oven-Baked Oysters

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pint shucked oysters

Use three shallow bowls. In the first bowl combine flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. In another bowl whisk eggs. In the third bowl combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic salt.

Coat oysters with flour mixture, then dip in eggs, and coat with crumb mixture. Place in greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan; drizzle with oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve with jalapeño ranch dressing for dipping.

bacon oyster recipe Oyster Appetizers, Recipes and Wine Pairings

Savory Bacon Wrapped Oysters

  • 12 ounces bacon strips cut in half
  • 1 pint shucked oysters
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or white)
  • 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Cook bacon in skillet style pan on medium-high heat until shrunken, but not crisp. Lay on paper towels to drain. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a shallow baking dish, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and dry mustard. Wrap each oyster with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place in the baking dish with sauce and bake for 15 minutes or longer. Oysters are done when the sauce bubbles and the bacon is crispy around the edges.

 

Wine Pairings

Chablis

The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France. The cool climate of this region produces wines with more acidity and flavors less fruity than Chardonnay. These wines often have a flinty or steely note.

Sancerre Blanc

Sancerre is located in the eastern part of the Loire valley, southeast of Orléans in France. Sancerre blanc is usually bone dry and highly aromatic with intense flavors of peaches and gooseberries.

 

Tony Chachere’s Easy Gumbo

  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 10 cups cool water
  • 1 cup Tony Chachere’s Instant Roux Mix
  • 1 lb. shrimp and 1 lb. crab meat
  • Tony Chachere Original Creole Seasoning

In a stockpot coated in pan spray, sauté vegetables until soft. In the same pot, add Tony’s Roux, 2 cups of water, 1 cup Tony Chachere’s Instant Roux Mix

Bring to a boil. After mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat to low and stir for 3 minutes. Add remaining water. For seafood gumbo, bring roux mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp and crab meat and return to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add remaining water. Season gumbo to taste with Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning. Ladle gumbo over steamed rice and garnish with chopped green onions and Tony Chachere’s Gumbo Filé.

 

Opelousas Oyster Loaf

  • 1 Loaf French Bread, unsliced
  • Margarine
  • 1 Dozen select large oysters
  • 1 Egg
  • Ketchup
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • 1/2 Cup light cream
  • 1 Cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Cup oil
  • Dill pickles (sliced)
  • Lemon (wedges)

Cut off top of the French Bread lengthwise and reserve. Scoop out insides and toast the loaf. Butter inside generously and keep warm. Dry oysters on absorbent paper.

In a bowl, beat egg with Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, slowly adding cream. Place oysters in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs, thoroughly covering all sides. Fry in shallow oil until brown and drain on absorbent paper.

Fill the hollow of French Bread with the fried oysters. Garnish with sliced dill pickles, lemon wedges and dabs of ketchup. Replace top, heat in oven and serve. Yields 4 servings.

How to Select Fresh Oysters (with recipes)

December 30th, 2014

oysterfry How to Select Fresh Oysters (with recipes)

See recipes for fried oysters below.

By Betha Merit

Let’s talk about how to select fresh oysters.  From buying to storing to shucking to recipes.  You might be oyster savvy, so feel free to simply enjoy the recipes in this column.  But many of us choose our oysters from a restaurant menu, and lack experience on how to select and process the sweet smelling, briny little bivalve mollusks.

Buying

When purchasing fresh oysters from a fish market or the regular grocer, freshness is everything.  Every oyster should be shut.  If it is not, then tap it, and it should shut definitively.  If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.  Oysters lose moisture when removed from the sea.  They should feel full and heavy in your hand, which suggests that they are fresh harvested.  If you bang two oysters together, they should sound solid.  Throw out any that sound hollow.

Storage

Remember, oysters are alive and need to breathe.  So never place live oysters in water or seal in a plastic bag if you want them to stay alive.  One storage option for using a cooler is to sandwich layers of live oysters between two beds of ice. They will last for two days. If you are not using them immediately, you may store oysters in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F, preferably in an open container covered by a damp towel or damp newspaper layers.  This method will keep them for five to seven days. Either way, place them deep side down to retain their juices.

Cleaning and Shucking

Tools needed for this step include a stiff bristle brush, a sturdy knife, a heavy glove, and a clean towel.  We can’t describe this process thoroughly due to space, so we recommend you do an internet search for how-to sites that includes pictures or videos of oyster shucking, or set up a training time with someone experienced in shucking.

If you went through the above process, you have the perfect fresh oysters, each still in its own juices (called liquor) on the half shell.  Immediately place them on a bed of crushed ice for serving.  Recommended condiments include lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, chili sauce, horseradish, and hot sauce.

You can either use a little fork to pick the oyster out, or you can slurp them out of their shell into your mouth. By slurping you get to drink the liquor.  Cradle the shell in your hand, grasping it with your thumb and first two fingers. And Slurp!

It is notable that for many recipes you can buy shucked oysters in pint or quart containers in liquid.  These last a bit longer, but do check the shelf life.  And, it is a lot easier than buying fresh and shucking yourself.  True oyster “fast food” is a smoked oyster from a tin served on a thin slice of cheddar on a cracker.  Also delicious!

Oyster Recipes

OYSTER STEW

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 quart shucked oysters, do NOT drain
  • 1/4 cup flour, dissolved in 1/4 cup very hot water
  • 1 quart half-and-half, can use fat-free
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika or cayenne pepper

Directions

In a soup pot, melt butter. Add the finely chopped onions and celery and minced garlic. Cook for about five minutes until veggies are tender.  Add the oysters and their liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 4-5 minutes, until oysters curl; reduce heat to a simmer. Whisk together 1/4 flour in 1/4 water until very smooth; add this to soup pot, stirring constantly. Add all remaining ingredients to the soup pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10-12 more minutes or until heated through and thickened.  Serves 6.

SOUTHERN FRIED OYSTERS

Ingredients

  • 12 oysters, freshly shucked
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup panko, (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 cups peanut oil, or canola oil
  • kosher salt

Directions

In a small bowl, place the flour. In a second small bowl, whisk the egg and 3 tablespoons of the hot sauce. In a third small bowl, place the panko. Dredge the oysters in the flour shaking off any excess. Dip the flour dredged oysters in the egg mixture. Shake off any excess and roll oysters in the panko being sure to completely coat. Place on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator while oil comes to temperature.

In a heavy skillet, heat oil to 325°. Add the breaded oysters and fry until golden brown about 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm chipotle lime dipping sauce.

Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise, best quality
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, from one lime
  • 2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (canned), roughly chopped, plus 1-2 teaspoons sauce (more or less, depending on taste for spicy)
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped

Combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, chipotle chiles with sauce and garlic in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth.