Oysters! I love them! Here are my favorite three ways to prepare them: baked with various toppings, grilled and dipped in spiced butter, or raw with a cocktail sauce. While I used to think of oysters as an appetizer, we now make a full meal out of them, along with a salad.
Since we spend the majority of our time in land-locked Colorado, we found two ways to get great oysters. First, we enjoy them when we are anywhere near either coast in our motorhome. Second, Whole Foods offers oysters for $1 each on Fridays.
If you can get oysters from different parts of the country, compare them to see which ones you prefer. We liked the Kumamoto oysters best, and Pearl Points and Gold Coasts were good, too. In fact, the only time I ever ate an oyster I didn’t like was a really big raw one. Since then, I’ve learned not to shy away from the big ones.
Once when we were at a campground in Washington, our generous neighbors gave us two HUGE oysters. The two of them filled a paper plate. The neighbors told us to cook them in the microwave until they opened. (It didn’t take long, but I don’t remember how many seconds.) They were delicious served with a little spiced butter. Does anyone know what kind these might be?
Select live oysters, ones that are tightly clamped shut, or will clamp shut when tapped. Discard oysters with loose or broken shells. Scrub shells with a brush under cold running water.
Tips for planning ahead: If I’m planning on oysters, omelets or anything else I may want to enhance with bacon crumbles, I will sometimes fry up whatever bacon I have on hand before a motorhome trip. Bacon crumbles keep well with refrigeration.
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- Oyster knife to shuck (open) the oysters
- 12 to 24 fresh oysters in the shell (This will get you started. See individual recipes below for additional ingredients.)
Baked Oysters with Cheese Toppings
- 3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese or blue cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped (see note)
- 1 to 2 green onions, sliced, green parts only
Shuck the oysters, leaving them on the half shells. Let each person top his or her own oysters with any combination of toppings. Arrange the oysters on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on size.
Note: Use frozen or canned artichoke hearts if you must, but I recently found a package of artichoke hearts in the produce section at Whole Foods. You’ll probably have enough left over to make the smoked salmon and artichoke quiche (recipe coming soon).
Grilled Oysters with Spiced Butter
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper hot sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon
Preheat barbecue grill.
Combine all ingredients and cook butter mixture over low heat.
Place oysters on a hot grill. Cover barbecue with lid, and open any vents. Cook 5 to 10 minutes (depending on size) or until shells begin to open to indicate doneness. When the first oyster opens, take them all off the grill using an oven mitt or tongs. Be careful not to spill their juices as you lift them. Pry open the oysters with an oyster knife or screwdriver. Wear a protective glove.
Remove oysters from shells and dip them in spiced butter.
Raw Oysters with Cocktail Sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp lemon
Mix ketchup, horseradish, and lemon together, adjusting for personal preference. Dip raw oysters into cocktail sauce.