Friday, January 27, 2023

Seasonal Finds: Baked Oysters

There are countless reasons to be grateful for living in South Florida—and having access to exceptional seafood is certainly one of them. Like other food categories, some seafood is at its best during specific windows of the year. Take the beloved oyster, which is at its plumpest and richest tasting during its prime time: spring.

There are five species of oysters harvested or sold in the U.S.—Pacific, Kumamoto, Atlantic, European Flat and Olympia—encompassing some 150 varieties (based on where they live, the water they filter and how they are handled). Ultimately, the best-tasting oysters come from the cleanest water. Check your local seafood market for Florida-raised oysters for a truly local taste experience.

Not only are oysters an immunity and energy-boosting treat packed with iron and B vitamins, but their shells are recyclable. Amazingly, oyster shells act as a great garden fertilizer. Their shells contain a high concentration of calcium, which produces strong, healthy plants and also balances the pH level of the soil. Simply crush the leftover shells and distribute them into the garden.

Of course, there is also the popular myth that oysters are the ultimate aphrodisiac—but we’ll let you be the judge.

The most common method of eating oysters is raw and chilled, with cocktail sauce and a squeeze of lemon on top. Another popular way to eat them is “Rockefeller” style, where the oyster is topped with various ingredients such as spinach or bacon—and baked in the oven.

Keeping with this incredibly popular Rockefeller style as a guide, I created a seasonal recipe that sure to make your mouth water: Baked oysters with shaved asparagus and celery salt. In this recipe, seasonal spring asparagus and celery make for a super-fresh topping on the succulent warm oyster meat.

This recipe is light, flavorful, and a total crowd pleaser—a dozen will not be enough!

Baked Oysters with Shaved Asparagus and Celery Salt

Makes 1 dozen oysters

Celery salt ingredients

1 celery spear, finely minced

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Broiled oyster ingredients

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bread crumbs

6 asparagus spears

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oysters, shucked

1/4 cup white cheddar (shredded) or Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On large baking sheet, arrange oyster half shells meat-side up. Set aside. Combine celery and sea salt in small bowl and whisk together to create celery salt. Add additional salt to your liking. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

2) Using a potato peeler, slice asparagus spears using upward motion moving toward the tip. Shred each spear and chop in half to create short strands that will be easy for chewing.

3) In a nonstick medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic until just turning brown, about 2 minutes. Add butter, allow to melt, and infuse with garlic, about 1 minute. Stir in breadcrumbs, shredded asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

4) Spoon quarter-sized scoop of asparagus mixture on top of each oyster. Place oysters in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and top oysters with cheese and a pinch of celery salt. Serve immediately.

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About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.

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