We often overlook oysters as a viable meal idea, instead choosing on occasion to pay way over the odds in a champagne bar or perhaps a seafood restaurant. There is an abundance of fresh oysters on our rocky shores, so much so that they were once considered ‘poor man’s food’, and compared to the mark up when eating out, paying about 90 pence per mollusc is not a lot.
Oysters Rockefeller is a classic amongst cooked oyster dishes and is so named for the richness of the dish. Versions abound, with the holy grail being the emerald green appearance. Some use watercress, some use spinach; we have chosen to use rocket, and there is no blanching or bicarbonate of soda (used in blanching water to keep greens green) in sight.
Shucking oysters is not difficult, once you get the hang of the first one. You can get a shucking knife, most have a guard to prevent slipping accidents, but a blunt knife or a flat head screwdriver will do the trick. We show the process in the video below, but basically you insert the knife at the pointy end, in between the two shells. Use pressure, pushing into the oyster and then twisting. You will feel it pop, like a joint coming out of a socket. Ease the top shell away from the bottom, and slice through where the flesh of the oyster is connected to the top shell. The top shell will then come away easily. Don’t forget to drain the juice into a small bowl as it is an integral part of the dish.
Recipe for oysters Rockefeller
6 to 12 fresh oysters
1 shallot, finely diced
50g + 1 tbsp butter
1 small bunch parsley, stalks removed
2 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
- Shuck the oysters and lay on a bed of salt on a baking tray. Don’t forget to drain all the juices from the oysters and set it aside.
- Pre heat the oven to 220C.
- Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a frying pan and add the shallots. Once translucent and soft, add the juices and reduce by half.
- Put the rocket, parsley and 50g butter in a food processor. Add the shallot reduction and blitz to a green paste.
- Top each oyster with a spoon of the butter and top with a scatter of crumb.
- Cook in the hot oven, near the top, for about 5 mins or until the butter is sizzling and the crumb is golden.
- Eat hot, with a knife and fork.