I was thinking of food when I awoke. An elaborate coconut crusted fish dish with a tempura style dipping sauce. Then I walked out of my air-conditioned room and became far less ambitious. It is another summer day that appeals for a slow pace.
My plan changed from a big late dinner to a lazy afternoon of nibbling on small plates. I have spent a fair amount of time in the south of France and have grown to love they way they wile away the heat of a summer day, sipping and grazing. Time spent at the Albaret's villa in the Languedoc infused a love of oysters and Pastis, a drink that has been romanticized for me by Peter Mayle. Those pleasant thoughts brought me back to my newly beloved Prince Edward Island.
Overlooking stunning Rollo Bay we enjoyed a brilliant Pastis at Myrid View and picked up a bottle to bring home. A day later we drove along a series of winding unpaved roads to make it to the famed Malpeque Bay for the sole purpose of enjoying their oysters over looking the small yet pristine harbor. While you won't find many days of 100 plus heat on PEI, the island provides the essentials to make the most of one at home.
Using Kosher or rock salt to make a bed to hold the oysters during cooking keeps the shells from tipping, spilling savoury juices and also keeps the oysters hot as they go to the table. For presentation, use an oven-to-table baking pan which will held 1/2 inch of salt.
20 Malpeque Bay oysters, on-half-shell, reserve liquid
1/2 cup Chive Butter
1/4 cup Parsley
1/2 lb fresh watercress or spinach, chopped
6 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped celery
2 tbsp finely chopped green pepper
A Pinch of Chinese 5 Spice
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tbsp anchovy paste
3 tbsp bread crumbs (or 1 tbsp each - Ground Flaxseed, ground brazil nuts, Sprouted Millet Flour)
1/2 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
hot pepper sauce to taste, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, then place baking pans, with layer of salt, in oven to heat. In a skillet, melt butter, saute parsley, watercress or spinach, shallots, celery and green pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes over medium heat until watercress or spinach is wilted. Stir in remaining ingredients, except the oysters, adding a little extra cream or bread crumbs as needed to achieve the consistency of a thick sauce. Spoon the watercress or spinach mixture over each oyster meat, dividing evenly. Place oysters in baking pan, return to oven and bake 4-6 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Makes 10 appetizers or 4 main course.
What you've shared:
If you are into oysters, you should read “The Big Oyster: A Moluscular History of New York” by Mark Kurlansky - I have just finished it. It is history of the rise and fall of the NY oyster industry and has lots of very interesting historical oyster recipes too.
Posted by Dominic Lockyer
If oysters are your thing:
- Oysters and the whites of southeastern France
- Classic Mignonette Sauce
- Max's Tavern, the fist place I enjoyed an oyetr from Malpeque Bay
- Batter up your Oysters