If you took my advice and attended last week’s New York Culinary Experience, you don’t need me to tell you what a terrific time guests and guest chefs had. (The attached slideshow will paint a vivid picture.)
If you didn’t attend, not all is lost, because I did and have brought back some recipes for you to try.
I had the privileged of attending Chef Kerry Heffernan’s class on oysters, where students were taught to identify the delicious bivalves by their distinctive shapes and shell characteristics.
A portion of the class was devoted to the art of shucking oysters — which indeed is an art form (and which, judging from the battle scars I brought back, has persuaded me to leave it to the experts in the future).
Besides, we are here to eat oysters, not to shuck them, although if you are handy with an oyster knife, you’ll probably want to acquire your oysters in the shell. For what it’s worth, the recipes that follow can be made with shucked oysters.
FRIED OYSTERS WITH CORNICHON, TANGERINE, AND CORIANDER CREMA
Oil for frying
½ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
½ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup minced cornichon
1 minced shallot
10 sprigs cilantro, minced
5 sprigs dill minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Zest of half a tangerine
1 cup buttermilk
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
2 cups potato flour
4 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
16 large oysters, shucked
- Heat oil in Dutch oven until it reaches 325 degrees.
- Male the crema: Combine yogurt, crème fraiche, cornichon, shallot, cilantro, dill, lemon juice, and zest in small bowl. Season with salt to taste.
- In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, thyme, and bay leaves.
- In a third bowl, combine potato flour and Old Bay. Again, salt to taste.
- Place oysters, 6 at a time in buttermilk, then dredge in potato starch mixture. Carefully drop into oil, and fry till light browned. Drain on wire rack.
- Serve hot with the crema
Serves 8 as passed hors d’oeuvre.
OYSTER PAN ROAST WITH OYSTERROOT (SALSIFY), CELERIAC, BACON, AND FRIED KALE
20 large oysters, shucked. (Reserve liquor with 4; drain balance on absorbent paper.
2 oz smoked bacon, diced
1 leek, white part only, minced
1 small head celeriac, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
1 bunch thyme
Cup heavy cream
4 salsify, peeled and kept in water with juice of one lemon
Small head of kale
3 Tbsp canola oil
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Slowly brown bacon in heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan. When crisp, remove with slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
- Add leeks to reserved fat. Cooked until softened.
- Add celeriac. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Barely cover with water, bring to boil, and simmer 25 mins, or until very tender.
- Add thyme and 4 of the shucked oysters. Poach for two minutes.
- Remove thyme, and puree mixture in blender till smooth. Add cream. Keep warm.
- Cook salsify until tender. Reserve.
- Coat kale leaves with oil. Place on sheet pan and bake until crisp.
- Sear remaining whole oysters in hot oiled pan.
- Divide equally among four bowls. Divide hot puree over top. Garnish with crisp kale and drained salsify.