Aw, Shucks

Our favorite oyster recipes to celebrate fall.

Sure, thanks to improved aquaculture techniques our favorite bivalves are available year-round (in all their briny goodness), but there’s something about Fall that just calls out for a supper of oysters shared with friends. Here are recipes from some of our favorite restaurants to get you started.

Roasted Oysters With Butter Compote  

Courtesy of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, Virginia Beach

Place oysters on a hot grill and roast for approximately 4 minutes or until they pop open.  Remove the top shell and cut the oyster free from the shell cup. Place a small amount of the compound butter directly on top of the oyster and let the heat soften the butter. 

Butter Compote

2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup paprika
½ teaspoon mesquite smoke flavor
½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 lb unsalted butter

Chop the butter into uniform chunks using the dough scraper.

Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter in a mixer’s work bowl at medium speed until it softens and lightens in color, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log, using the edge of a baking sheet to form a tight log. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Serves 8.

Barcat Oyster Pan Roast  

Courtesy of Rogue 24, Washington, D.C. (now closed) 

36 Barcat oysters, shucked, with liquor reserved
1 cup sweet onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
½ cup Virginia white table wine
1 pint heavy cream
½ cup country ham, finely julienned
½ cup scallions, green part only, finely sliced
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 slices of toasted white bread, crust removed

In a heavy bottom saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil, country ham, onions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, add the wine and oyster liquor and reduce by half. Turn the heat down to low, add the oysters and poach just until the edges curl. Remove the oysters. Add the cream and reduce the liquid by half. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Whisk, then add the green onions, oysters, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Adjust seasonings and serve in a bowl over toasted white bread. Serves 8. 

Comfort Mignonette 

Courtesy of Comfort, Richmond

1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 piece of ginger, peeled, cut 3 inches long, ½ inch thick, and 1½ inch wide
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, cut in half, and split
1 star anise pod
7 peppercorns
½ bottle of blanc de blanc champagne
2 shallots, minced
½ bunch of flat leaf parsley leaves, minced

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pot, and whisk to combine.  Place the pot over medium high heat until it boils.  Boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to cool.  This step can be done as much as 1 week in advance.  Keep very cold in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When ready to serve, place equal parts champagne and mignonette base in a bowl, and stir in the shallots and parsley.  Serve over ice cold Rappahannock River oysters on the half shell. Serves 8. 

Apple Mignonette 

Courtesy of Lucky Restaurant, Roanoke 

2 cups champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 Ginger Gold apples (or any tart apple)
2 shallots
3 tablespoons mixed peppercorns
pinch of sea salt
zest of one lemon

In a mixing bowl combine Champagne Vinegar and whisk olive oil until emulsified. Add minced shallots and finely diced apples. Zest in lemon. Coarsely chop peppercorns in a spice grinder. Sift the pepper, reserving only the larger pieces and add to mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt, bearing in mind you want your Mignonette to complement, not compete with the oysters.  Chill the Mignonette for two to four days before serving.  Serve on the side of raw oysters using only 1⁄2 to a 1⁄4 of a teaspoon per oyster. Serves 8.
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