There are two foods that come close to being perfect in and of themselves, in my opinion; eggs and oysters. Eggs, when sourced and prepared well, do not need anything to be better. Salt, pepper, and little else are all it takes to make them delicious. Add to that the versatility of use as far as an ingredient and there is much to appreciate about them. Oysters are the most perfect food in the world. When sourced well, they need absolutely nothing and possess a level of complexity and refinement that cannot be found in other foods. Straight out of the water, shucked, and slurped. Absolute perfection.
One thing to keep in mind is freshness. If you want to eat oysters raw on the half shell, I would recommend overnighting them from a trusted source or to eat them in a good restaurant. While they are spectacular, they quickly lose their luster the longer they are out of the water. That doesn’t mean they are bad though. There are many cooked preparations that are spectacular (check my Sriracha Butter Oysters recipe). Oysters Rockefeller are probably the most well-known preparation. I recently stumbled upon the idea to do a green chili Oysters Rockefeller. They ended up surpassing classic Oysters Rockefeller, in my opinion, and the opinions of several dinner companions with extensive experience with oysters.
Oysters have become a staple feature at Bees Marketplace, and they are reasonably priced. These are perfect for any cooked preparation. Stop in, pick some up, and try this. You won’t be disappointed.
2 dozen oysters (shucked on the half shell)
2 cups of finely shredded Manchego cheese
4-5 green chilies (fire roasted, peeled, and seeded)
2 cups packed spinach
½ finely diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Fill a cooking tray with rock salt. This serves to stabilize the oysters as they cook. Shuck the oysters and nestle them into the salt. Be careful to preserve the liquid. In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter and add a drizzle of olive oil. As soon as it begins to bubble, add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the chilis into thin one-inch ribbons. Chop the spinach as well. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute. Add the sliced chilies and spinach, cooking until the spinach is wilted. Add the cream; cook until simmering then turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture evenly into each oyster. Top with Manchego and cook in the oven for ten minutes. If the oysters are not golden brown on top, quickly broil them for another five minutes. Cool for five minutes, garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges and serve.