I usually hate it when the classes at my gym get spontaneously canceled. I don’t like to work out with my glasses on, meaning I can’t read the subtitles on the TVs. I always seem to forget my ipod. The magazines usually suck, but a few months ago I grabbed a random magazine when I had to hop on the Elliptical. I have never read American Lifestyle before, but I’m pretty convinced it’s one big, pretty ad – one big pretty ad WITH RECIPES!
The Baked Oysters with Orange-Thyme Beurre Blanc and Citrus Zest recipe came from the Yarrow Bay and Grill Beach Cafe. Holy hot sack of oysters! This easy recipe really dresses up oysters, not that they need it. One friend, who thought he hated oysters said he’d eat these from now on. Another who eats only raw, said I had redeemed the marriage of oysters and the oven. My fiance said, “They’re salty, citrusy deliciousness!” If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is! All I had to say was YUM!
Rock salt (Kosher salt worked fine)
32 large oysters (3-4″)
2 cups orange juice (they call for fresh squeezed, but anything NOT from concentrate will work fine. I used Tropicana)
3 teaspoons EACH – freshly grated lemon, lime, and orange zest
2 cups veggie oil (I used canola)
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried (crumbled)
White pepper (freshly ground is best, but works fine without)
Cilantro leaves, about 1 cup, loosely packed (whole looks really pretty, but you can chop it too. I substituted cilantro instead of arugula, but I think it really enhanced the flavor.)
The next day, we got the oysters from a seller at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market for 50 cents each, straight from the harvester. In one of the first times in all of history, I had 99% of the ingredients! However, we were missing the proper tools! D’oh!
We invited our friends Jake and Jason over. Jake’s task was to stop by a store and get us a oyster knife and the chain mail glove thing. It turns out you can bake them for a minute or so and they pop open just enough. Anyway, we had Jason slave away while I readied the sauce.
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with your rock or kosher salt. Give it a good coating. You won’t be eating it, it’s to hold the oysters in place when you shuck and bake them. Shuck the oysters, reserving as much of their juice as possible. Discard the top shell and put the oysters (inside of the shell facing up) in the salt. You want the shell to act as a cup for the juice and the little meaty bit.
2. Put the OJ in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir it occasionally, as it gets bubbly and tries to ruin your stove. You’re trying to get it to the consistency of maple syrup and is about a 3/4 cup.
3. While the juice is getting syrupy, take the zests and toss them in a little flour. Shake off any excess by putting it in a tiny sieve. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it starts to bubble around the edges, add the zest. Fry it until it is lightly browned, probably about 30-60 seconds. Drain on paper towels.
4. Back to the OJ! Once it’s reduced, take it off the heat and whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time (make sure it’s totally incorporated before you add another). Whisk in the thyme and season it to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the pan of oysters in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, being careful not to spill their juice when you put the pan in/take it out. They should plump and be firm to the touch. Remove the pan and top with the sauce, cilantro, and fried zest.