How to Cook Oysters
Oysters are a raw bar staple, but discovering how to cook oysters brings out an entirely different flavor and texture--maybe enough to recruit even the biggest seafood skeptic.

Before the cooking begins, however, you have to "shuck," or open, the oyster. An oyster knife is mandatory to pry open the shell and detach the bivalve. You also want to have a kitchen towel or oven mitt in hand--it helps keep a grip on the oyster and serves as protection in case the knife slips (wet oyster shells can be especially slippery).

Oysters should be alive just before shucking, and should be eaten or cooked soon thereafter. Live oysters will have tightly closed shells. If a shell is open, tap it on a hard surface--if it closes, it's alive; if not, toss it. Oysters are available year round, but are best September through April.

Stuffing and baking oysters is a popular way to cook them. Breadcrumbs and butter provide a nice crust; the remainder of the stuffing can be made with any finely diced vegetables (mushrooms, red peppers, onions, etc.) plus cheese or eggs (or both) to help bind the mixture, and spices for a boost of flavor.

Transcript
-Hey everyone, I'm Judith. Well if you're looking to impress guests at party, this is the recipe for you because today we're showing you how to make a very elegant Oysters Bienville. So, what you will need for this is 24 oysters in shells; coarse rock salt; 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions; 1 clove of garlic minced; 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine; 1/3 cup of all purpose flour; 1/4 teaspoon of salt; 1/4 of a teaspoon of ground white pepper; 1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper; 1 cup of chicken broth; 1/2 cup of whipping cream; 3 beaten egg yolks; 1/2 pound of cooked shelled shrimp, chopped; 1/2 of finely chopped fresh mushrooms; 2 tablespoons of dry white wine; 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese; 2 tablespoons of fine dried bread crumbs; and 1/8 teaspoon of paprika. Alright, now, let's us tell you what we did with our oysters. Now, we pull them in the shell, and as you can see here, we prepare them. So, we shift our oysters. They were all both closed, fresh oysters, and actually, I'll give you a tip. Buy your oysters, very, very fresh, and then put them in the fresher for a couple of minutes before you open them because that will actually help open them. So, using of mat or a dish towel, lay your oysters flat side up, and using and oyster knife, you wanna find that little hinge, that little separation between the 2 shells, and it's gonna take a little bit of twisting and hinging, but eventually you're gonna pull put the flat part of our your oyster shell, will remain the dipper shell and what you'll have to do with your little oyster knife is just hinge it a little bit inside the shell so that oyster comes out of the shell. So, we did that, we washed our shells. We washed our oysters, and we place our oysters back in their shell. Now, just put some rock salt on the baking dish here just because that helps our oyster shells stand up so that no flying about anywhere. So, there you go. There you have it. It's a nice, fresh oysters right there. So, we prepared and shift our oysters, ready for baking after. Now, what we're gonna do is in our sauce pan, we're gonna get to medium heat, and we're gonna add in our butter or margarine, whatever you're using, and into that, we're going to cook our garlic and our green onions, but let that melt up, and we'll put them in there. So, our butter is melted, in goes the garlic, and green onions, and we just wanna get the green onions nice and tender, so it should take about 5 minutes. So, our green onions are nice and soft tender. So, now, we're gonna add in our flour, our red pepper, and white pepper. Get them in there. It's gonna give fantastic flavor, the sauce, and our salt goes in there too, give that a quick stir in with the mixture, and then to that we're gonna add in our cream and our chicken broth, and we're gonna cook that over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it gets and thick and bubbly. Alright, our mixture is nice, thickened and bubbly. So, what we're gonna go do now is into our beat egg yolks, we're gonna stir in that half of that mixture actually, in there goes, whisk it around. Let all of that come together. That's really thick and nice, and then we're gonna add that back into the saucepan. Make sure you reduce your heat to a minimum. Put that back in with the egg yolks, we we're gonna cook that for 2 minutes more, give it a good stir, lovely, fantastic, smells very good in here. Now, it's time to add in our shrimp, mushrooms, and of course, our lovely wine. So, in there go, lovely fresh shrimp there, mushrooms in there too, and that wine. We wanna heat that through because it needs to be cooked much at all. So, all of that is combined beautifully, smells and just looks delicious. So, let's get our oysters back over here. Take that off the heat. Now, in our small bowel, let's combined our bread crumbs, our paprika, which is always so great with seafood ** and our parmesan cheese, just give that a little whisk. It's gonna be a lovely topping. Very, very good, alright. So, with our lovely shrimp-mushroom mixture here. We're gonna put about 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons on top each oyster. So, on top, to go like that, and we're gonna do the same with our remaining oysters. Just let it cover the oyster like so. So, all of our mushroom-shrimp mixture is now on top of our oysters. Now, we're just gonna sprinkle on top of that our parmesan-bread crumb mixture, wow, this is very impressive, a nice way to do oysters. Now, just while we're doing that, we've preheated an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and so these are gonna go into the oven for about 15 minutes until they nice and brown on the top and the oyster to curl. That is done in the oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Alright, oysters are out of the oven, been in there about 15 to 20 minutes. They are looking fantastic. They are nice golden brown with those parmesan and bread crumbs, and honestly if you serve this up at your dinner party, people will be very, very impressed. So, there you go. That is how you make Oysters Bienville.
What You'll Need
  • 24   oysters in shells
  •  Coarse rock salt
  • 1/2  cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1   clove garlic, minced
  • 3   tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/3  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1   cup chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup whipping cream
  • 3   beaten egg yolks
  • 1/2  pound cooked, shelled shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2  cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2   tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2   tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8  teaspoon paprika


Step By Step
1
Open oysters in shells (see tip below). With a knife, remove oysters from shells and drain well. Wash shells.
2
Place each oyster in the deep half of each shell. Arrange on a bed of coarse rock salt in shallow pans. (Or, steady shells on pan lined with crumpled foil.)
3
In a saucepan cook green onions and garlic in butter or margarine about 5 minutes or until tender.
4
Stir in flour, salt, white pepper, and red pepper. Add chicken broth and cream, stirring until well blended. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly.
5
Reduce heat. Gradually stir about half of mixture into beaten yolks. Return mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
6
Stir in shrimp, mushrooms, and wine. Heat through. Remove from heat. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the shrimp mixture over each oyster.
7
Combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and paprika. Sprinkle over oysters. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden on top and oysters curl. Makes 4 servings.


Tip
  • Test Kitchen Tip: To shuck an oyster, hold the oyster in an oven mitt with the flat side up. Using a strong-bladed oyster knife, insert the knife tip into the hinge between the shells. Twist the blade to pry open the oyster. Slip the blade along the inside of the upper shell to free the muscle from the shell. Remove and discard the flat top shell. Slide the knife under the oyster to cut the muscle from the bottom shell. Reserve the deep bottom shells for Oysters Bienville.
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