In this month’s edition of Keeping It Fresh on Public Radio, KCBX, chef/ host Charles Myers visits with Neal Maloney of the Morro Bay Oyster Company. Neal farms 134 acres in the middle of Estero Bay in Morro Bay and delivers his fresh, local oysters to area restaurants and farmers markets. He has 5 years experience raising oysters out in the bay, but has only owned the Morro Bay Oyster Company for the last year and a half. Neal shares his daily experiences of aquaculture and gives insight into the local seafood industry. Listen to July’s Keeping It Fresh:
The following recipes were all inspired by my conversations on “Keeping It Fresh” with Neal Maloney of the Morro Bay Oyster Company. You can find him selling his local oysters at the Thursday night SLO Farmers Market or daily on the dock at the embarcadero, across the street from the kite store in Morro Bay.
To Barbecue Oysters
Heat the grill. Scrub the oysters in clear, cold water. Place on the grill and close the lid. When the oysters pop open (10 – 15 minutes) they are done. Carefully remove the top shell with an oyster knife or bottle opener at the hinged end. Season in any manner you like, salt & pepper, garlic butter, hot sauce, etc.
Macho Beer Roasted Indoor Oysters
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a roasting pan inside.
Scrub oysters in clean, cold water.
Saturate two clean kitchen towels with dark beer by soaking in a bowl.
When the pan is hot, add a bottle of dark beer, 2 dozen unopened oysters, salt & pepper and cover with the beer soaked towels.
Roast for about 10 minutes until the oysters open.
Serve with home made hot sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp chipotle chile pepper puree (chipotles in adobo, pureed) or harissa or other chile pepper puree
Mix together thoroughly
Warm Buttered Oysters on Young Greens
5 Tbsp butter
1/2 a loaf French Bread (for crostini)
Enough mixed young salad greens for 4 salads
1 minced shallot
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 dozen fresh oysters – scrubbed & shucked
Make crostini in any manner you like (brush with seasoned olive oil and toast, broil, bbq or bake.
Melt some of the butter in a skillet and sauté the shallot until it begins to brown. Add the vinegar and reduce by half. Add the remaining butter and the oysters, stirring and tossing until the oysters are plump and firmed and the butter is incorporated into the beurre blanc.
Serve by creating a salad with the greens and crostini and top the greens with the oysters and the butter “dressing”. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt. The salad will be enhanced with interesting greens, like perslane or arrugula. This recipe is a side salad for 4 with 6 oysters per person.
Spinach Fennel Baked Oysters “Rockefeller”
2 dozen fresh oysters
1 lb fresh spinach
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
3 Tbsp butter
Coarse salt to hold the oysters
Wash spinach and place in a glass microwaveable bowl with the fennel seeds. Microwave on high for 3 minutes covered and let sit to finish wilting. Squeeze dry. Puree in a food processor with 1 Tbsp of the butter.
Sauté the fennel with the remaining butter until softened. Stir into the spinach mixture and season with salt and white pepper.
Shuck the oysters and arrange on a baking pan nestled in the coarse salt so they don’t tip. Spoon spinach-fennel mixture onto each one. Bake at a preheated 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until the oysters are plumped and cooked through.
Variations: top with hollandaise before baking. Add a whipped egg or a little mayonnaise to the spinach mix so that it sets up firmer – broil at the end if necessary. Garnish with caramelized shallots or another crispy-oniony garnish.