During our little island getaway, we got to enjoy another fresh local delight: oysters! This is another food that I didn’t discover until I moved out here. They are really at their best when eaten raw, sitting on the beach where you just collected them.
If you do happen to be on a beach and are tempted to gobble up a few raw oysters, be sure to check about red tide. You’re less likely to have problems with this in the colder months, but check the reports just to be sure. In BC, check this website.
Mark went on a photo mission one day and came back with a bucket of freshly picked oysters. After eating our fill of them raw, (as much as I love them raw, I get a bit squirmy about eating the big ones), I turned the rest into our own Gulf Island version of Oysters Rockefeller (we called them Oysters Rock). The original recipe calls for spinach, which is a great substitute outside nettle season; you could also use Swiss chard or kale. If you are into the idea of eating fresh seafood, but are not so into biting into a live critter (for the record, they are not slimy), this is a great dish for you.
Oysters Rock (adapted from Saveur)
3 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp butter
1 oz nettles
1 green onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tsp Pernod
1 tsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
⅛ tsp ground anise
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Coarse rock salt or pie beans, for pan
12 oysters, on the half shell
Wearing gloves (rubber dish washing gloves work well), remove and discard any tough stems from the nettles. Plunge the nettles into boiling water and blanch for about 1 minute. Dunk them into cold water to stop them cooking and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Chop coarsely.
Pulse bread crumbs, butter, nettles, green onions, celery, garlic, shallots, Pernod, vinegar, thyme, anise, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Heat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with rock salt about ¼” deep. Nestle oysters onto bed of rock salt or pie beans. Spoon filling over oysters; broil until tops are browned, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately, preferably with a beer.