For the Purists - RAW - Shuck raw oysters and slurp fresh off the shell—eaten “naked” or topped with just a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon! Other toppings of choice - Tabasco! hot'cha'cha! - If cooking (see below) you can cut the muscle attaching the top shell, pry open and season with butter, garlic butter, ranch dressing, Tabasco, cocktail sauce, etc
Place oysters on the barbeque grill, with deep side of shell down to hold natural juices in. As soon as they start to open (usually about 10 min. - larger ones take longer to cook than smaller), remove from heat and insert a sharp knife along the top shell to cut the muscle. Pry open and slurp right out of the shell, be sure not to spill any of the "nectar", drink that along with your oyster - delicious.
No barbeque - no problem—you can place the oysters (again, deep shell down) on a cookie sheet or in a large pie plate. I like to use one with sides, so if any liquid does spill out it doesn't make a mess in the bottom of the oven. Place in a 350 degree oven, until the shells just crack open - maybe 10-15 min.
For a really quick snack of fresh oysters, place 4-5 oysters in a glass pie plate. I wrap them in a damp hand towel, deep shell down. Then microwave on high power for about 5-6 minutes.
You can process a quantity of oysters this way for later cooking, such as pan-frying, using in side dishes, casseroles or oyster stew/chowder. While you are shucking out the ones that just “cracked open” and pouring them (with juice) into a storage container, the microware is getting the next batch ready!
The very Best Pan-fried Oysters
Pre-cook and shuck oysters. Reserve the nectar (liquid from cooking) to use in chowder.
Using “Cracklebread” by Natural Nectar (it is gluten-free) available at the Bellingham Coop and probably other places. It is a favorite! Could also use any “rice flour based" cracker—tends to hold it’s crunch better than wheat (or saltine) crackers. But if that is what you have, it will work also. Crush fine with a rolling pin. IF you don't have any crackers you can also use cornmeal, polenta or corn flour (like masa). Adding fresh ground pepper to this mixture is also very tasty.
Beat an egg into a small bowl. Thoroughly dip the oyster into the egg, then roll in the crumbs/cornmeal mixture. If you can tolerate dairy, you can use butter to panfry them in. But coconut oil with a little olive oil in it works really well. Saute enough to just heat through and “crisp up” the crumbs remember —the oysters are already cooked.
Chipolte Ranch Dressing Sauce for Oysters
1 packet of ranch dressing mix (or use Chipotle Ranch Dressing Mix and eliminate seasonings below, except for fresh cilantro - optional if you don’t like and parmesan cheese)
1 1/2 cups sour cream (you can use low fat or plain yogurt if you prefer)
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp pureed chipotle peppers (if you like less spicy, start with less and add more to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Can be served as a sauce (cold) with pan-fired oysters or broiled oysters. OR after loosening from their shells (live), leave the oyster in the shell. Spoon dressing on top (covering the meat) then add a bit more parmesan and broil until just toasted.
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