#0006: The World Is Your Baked Oyster
Updated: Jun 2
The waters off the Secret Coast are unpolluted and teeming with life. Seals, otters and dolphins can often be seen from the shore. If you visit during the summer and are really lucky, you might even spot a basking shark passing through.
It goes without saying, then, that our seafood is second to none.
The oysters of Loch Fyne are delicious and really don’t need any messing around with. Having said that, it’s fun to dress them up every once in a while. Baking them with herbs and butter makes for a really delicious alternative on a cold day and is a great way to try oysters if the thought of them otherwise makes you a bit squeamish.
First though, let’s talk shucking.
The idea of opening an oyster can be pretty daunting first time you do it, but it’s surprisingly easy and looks seriously impressive if you have guests.
Before you get started though, you’re going to want the right tools.
I use a shucking knife, which has a large handle, a short blade and a decent hilt to stop my hand from slipping. I’m generally pretty clumsy in the kitchen, so I use a knife-resistant glove to hold the oyster whilst I’m opening it. If you don’t have these though, a flat-head screw driver and an oven mitt or folded tea-towel will do the job just fine.
You’ll notice your oyster has one side flatter than the other. Hold the oyster with the flatter side facing up and find the hinge at the pointed end of the shell. Wriggle the point of the blade between the two halves of the shell at the hinge, and twist the blade to prise them apart.
Once you're in, run the blade right around the shell to separate the two halves completely, being careful to retain as much of the liquid as possible.
If you’re planning to eat the oysters raw, sit them on ice and serve them immediately.
Were not going to eat ours raw today though, so read on for perfect baked oysters.
Start by combining three tablespoons of breadcrumbs, a good teaspoon of dijon mustard, a good grind of black pepper and a tablespoon or so of finely chopped flat-leafed parsley and sage. Melt a tablespoon of butter (I prefer salted, but take your pick) and mix it in.
Finely chop a couple of rashers of smoked bacon and fry them until cooked through. They don't need to be crispy though, as the oven will do that for you.
Next, shuck six oysters and sit them in coarse sea salt in a shallow oven dish. The salt isn't for flavour, but it's handy for keeping the shells upright and will keep your oysters warm when they come out of the oven.
Spoon the breadcrumb mixture onto the oysters, layer the bacon on top, then finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 230°C for about 12 minutes.
Once cooked, serve immediately with fresh bread and glass or two of white, and plan your next adventure by the sea.