Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Huîtres épicés / Spicy Oysters

Huîtres épicés or Spicy Oysters

In preparation for these blog entries, I did some preliminary research and asked a few people what food they considered romantic.  Their reaction was unanimous.  First a low smile, then silence, then nervousness, then they blurted out the first thing that came into their mind.  I received quite a range of responses, and I plan on sharing them with you this month.

The first answer I received was oysters.  Ahhh, the oyster.  A briny aphrodisiac.  The term, "aphrodisiac" coming from the Greek goddess Aphrodite, was born from the sea in an oyster shell.  Thus the reason shellfish are thought to evoke sexual potentcy.  Interestingly, Roman history tells tales of women who begin to act recklessly when they drank wine and ate oysters.  Maybe there are nutrients in oysters that when consumed, increase the libido.  Whatever the case, oysters were on the list of romantic meals.  Personally I love them, but if you plop a plate of oysters down in front of someone who thinks they are revolting, then your plans for a romantic evening may need a little tweaking. 

Huîtres épicés

8 to 12 Oysters
1/4 C. butter
1/4 t. white pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. dry white wine
1 T. hot sauce, such as Sriracha
1/4 C. bread crumbs
1/4 C. shredded or grated parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped parsley (optional)

Take your oysters and run them under cold water in a clean sink.  Using a quality oyster knife, place the blade in the crack between the two shells and turn the knife popping open the oyster.  Scrape the oyster muscle onto one of the shells and peel the other shell off and discard.  Place the oyster in the half shell on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Follow this step until all the oysters are shucked.

In a small, microwave safe bowl, add butter and put it in the microwave to melt.  Remove from microwave and add pepper, garlic, white wine, and hot sauce.  Stir to combine.  Taking a spoon, carefully ladle spoonfuls of butter mixture over the oysters.  You may have some butter mixture remaining which can be poured over the top of each right before baking.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top, then follow with the bread crumbs. 
Place cookie sheet in a broiling oven (500 degrees) for about 3 or 4 minutes.  Watch them carefully and remove them when they are golden brown.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley prior to serving.  Enjoy with a side salad and a glass of Viogner.

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