Oysters, Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, Why You Should Love ‘Em

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Personally, I do not need a reason to love oysters, I already do and always look forward to a fall oyster roast in the crisp fall air. I long ago learned the proper way to shuck an oyster and enjoy!! Oysters are the shelled gem of the sea; they have a very unique chewy texture and a salty briny taste. They a like a bite of the essence of the ocean. It is a taste and texture you either really love or try to avoid.
Not only are fresh oysters like a fresh bite of ocean, they are also quite healthy. Oysters vary in size and the average calories of 6 medium sized fresh or steamed oysters is only about 60, this is why folks order them by the dozen! Even fried and breaded 6 oysters contain only about 175 calories. Each oyster has about 2 grams of Protein, depending on size, so a half-dozen oysters can give you around 12 grams of protein. Oysters are also a great source of Vitamin D, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and Vitamin B12.
Oyster are in season now and generally runs from October to March. Oysters are great to pick up straight from the ocean, shuck them, and enjoy them raw. The saltier the better for me!!
However, there are times when you want something more than oysters on the half shell.
With the holidays approaching, oysters make a perfect appetizer, side dish or main course!!
For these occasions, here are some favorite oyster recipes for you to try.

Devils on Horseback

(My friends and I have been making and enjoying this one for years)

  • Fresh oysters
  • Hot Sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • Fresh or purchased cooked bacon pieces

Drain oysters, and place drained oysters in a broiling safe dish, (I use Au Gratin dishes).
Cover generously with hot sauce, and top with bacon pieces. Broil in oven until bubbly and the bacon starts to brown. I use an oven safe “deviled egg holder” for cooking these. Serve
with saltines. Sorry this recipe seems vague, much of it depends on the number of oysters you have, the number of people you are serving, and how much hot sauce you like. Once the oysters are gone the hot sauce and bacon are still deliciously flavored with the oyster
liquor, enjoy!!

Oyster Casserole

(This one is from an Island Life NC on line magazine recipe)

  • 3 cups hot wild rice, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon sage
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 8oz cans fresh oysters, drained
  • 3 tablespoons Buttery cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt

While rice is cooking according to package directions, brown onions and celery in butter.
Remove from heat and add milk, flour, salt, sage, thyme, and black pepper.
Add well-drained rice to mixture.
Pour into 2-quart casserole.
Drain oysters and let soak in lukewarm, melted butter for 5 to 10 minutes.
Pour oysters and butter over rice mixture and spread the oysters evenly.
Top with buttery crackers crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until the oyster’s curl. Serves 8.

(My Favorite) Oysters Rockefeller

  • 2 dozen oysters, shucked
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely diced
  • Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Shuck the oysters placing them in a baking pan filled with rock salt to keep them level and prevent the juices from spilling.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic, sauté until fragrant, about a minute and mix half of the garlic butter into the breadcrumbs.
Add the spinach, green onion and celery to the pan and cook until the spinach wilts.
Add the anise liqueur, deglaze the pan and allow most of the liquid to evaporate and
remove from heat before seasoning with cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the parsley and Parmesan into the breadcrumbs.
Place a heaping teaspoon of the mixture onto each oyster followed by some bacon and the breadcrumbs.
Bake in a preheated 450F oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 205, Fat 16g (Saturated 9g, Trans 0g),
Cholesterol 61mg, Sodium 301mg, Carbs 6g (Fiber 0.8g, Sugars 3.1g), Protein 7.2g

Classic Down East Oyster Stew

  • 1 pt. shucked fresh oysters, undrained
  • 2 cups milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons sherry (you may substitute with dry vermouth, dry white wine or apple cider)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • Oyster crackers, saltine crackers, or buttered toast

Drain oysters, reserving oyster liquor (about 1 cup). Heat milk and oyster liquor in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally to prevent scorching, 3 to 4 minutes or
until mixture just begins to steam. Add oysters, and season with desired amount of salt and pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until the edges of the oysters just begin to curl. Remove pan from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer oysters to a plate to prevent them from overcooking.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle flour over shallot mixture, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until completely incorporated and bubbly. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Gradually stir in reserved milk mixture and oysters. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, just until warmed through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and
hot sauce. Serve with crackers. Yields 4-6 servings.

Cornbread Oyster Dressing

  • 12 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 ⁄ 4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. crumbled dried sage
  • 1 ⁄ 2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 6 cups crumbled corn bread
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 dozen small shucked oysters

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 6 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add onions, celery, parsley, sage and tarragon. Sauté the mixture until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
Put corn bread in a large mixing bowl. Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; add remaining butter, stirring until butter has melted, then pour over corn bread. Mix in sautéed onion-and-celery mixture, eggs, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gently mix oysters into the corn bread mixture, taking care not to break up oysters.
Transfer to a buttered 8" × 8" baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes. Serves 8.