A favorite of food lovers throughout the world, oysters carry a long standing reputation as the ultimate aphrodisiac– said to increase one’s libido when eaten raw. Many a romantic gourmand has thrived on eating raw oysters and sipping a glass of wine or champagne with lascivious visions of the glory to come. It’s no wonder Casanova, one of the World’s most notorious lovers, would start each meal with a dozen oysters to set the stage for his evening’s conquest. And the mere notion of Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Love, emerging from the sea on an oyster shell firmly plants the oyster as a bewitching charm to be reckoned with–a true elixir of love.
While the best oysters should be eaten raw, there are wonderful oyster dishes that provide a completely different taste from raw oysters. I was recently given a great gift–86 New Orleans – a recipe box filled with 86 recipes from some of the best restaurants in New Orleans –one of my all time favorite foodie meccas! I love the people, the food and the myriad of restaurant choices in New Orleans. To celebrate this glorious city and one of the most revered aphrodisiacs–the oyster, I have selected this recipe to share as a tribute to both.
Shucking an Oyster
Before shucking, scrub the shell with a stiff brush and rinse under cold water to remove all sand and grit. You will find a “hinge” at one end of an oyster. Take a good sharp knife, preferably a sturdy oyster knife, and insert this into the hinge. Apply pressure to pry the top and bottom shell apart until you hear the hinge pop. Take the knife and slide it pointing upwards being careful not to scrape the roof. Your goal is to cut the muscle that connects the two shells, slicing through this connective muscle. You can now separate the top and bottom shells.
Char-Grilled Oysters with Roquefort Cheese and Red-Wine Vinaigrette
Chef Scott Snodgrass / One Restaurant & Lounge in New Orleans
- 1 cup of crumbled Roquefort cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1/8 cup of honey
- 1 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup of pure olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil)
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper
- 12 – 18 oysters on the half shell
Combine all ingredients, except oysters, in a mixing bowl. Put oysters on the half shell, over a hot charcoal fire; I placed the oysters on a fish/vegetable rack to keep them even on a tray. It is also easy to move them on and off the grill this way. Top each oyster with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and cook until edges of the oysters start to curl, about 2 minutes.
Plating the Dish
Place a mound of rock salt (about 1 cup) on a salad plate and top with 3 – 6 oysters on the shell per person.
Serve with your favorite white wine or a glass of champagne.