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Travel & food stories: Baked oysters

cb 2 years ago

You have read about how I ate my first oyster and how we went to Île d’Aix to eat fresh oysters straight from the beach. In this last part of my short oyster series, I’ll tell you about baked oysters — for all of you who can’t bear the thought of eating a raw oyster or those who want to shake things up a bit.

After returning from Île d’Aix Sophie’s oyster, fisher friend gave us a quick tour of his production facilities and sent us off with a bag full of his oysters.

Back at Sophie’s, I downed a few en nature. But my host was expecting guests for dinner and proposed to cook the remaining oysters.

I was in shock. To me, oysters were such a luxury that I didn’t want to consider to have them any other way than raw. But Sophie convinced me to give it a try.

Recipe

She opened the shells as usual and carefully placed them on a baking tray, filled with sand for stability, to not lose any of the water. Of course, that the sand came from the beach… Ah, the perks of living on an island…

Next Sophie heated the oven to 180°C (that’s about 350°F).

While waiting for the right oven temperature, we prepared three types of oyster toppings:

  1. A mix of melted butter with bread crumbs and herbs.
  2. A mix of finely chopped leeks with yogurt and mayo.
  3. A dollop of butter on the oyster topped with herbs: fennel green, thyme, rosemary,… — we had a little fun with herbs we found in the garden…

The tray went into the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to get the breadcrumbs a bit crunchy and let the butter start bubbling in the shells.

A story about how I thought we were going to waste lovely fresh Oléron oysters but ended up with a delicious meal of baked oysters.Yum!

When the guests had arrived, and after a little apéritif, the tray was served.

Though the oyster taste wasn’t full-on “sea” like en nature, it didn’t feel like the waste of a great basic product that I had feared. Instead, the sea note was lifted by each of the toppings: fennel, thyme, and rosemary danced with butter and still salty flesh; the slight acidity of the leek-yoghurt topping offered a counterpoint to the saltiness, and the crunch of the bread crumbs added welcome texture.

I think they let me eat more than my fair share…

PLUS: I didn’t do a great job at explaining how to open an oyster in my previous post. So, here’s a pro explaining how to shuck (yup, that’s the official term) oysters — and agreeing with me on how it feels to eat them raw…:

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