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Roasted Oysters

Roasted Oysters
For a spectacular presentation, ask your fishmonger for some seaweed to create a serving bed for these succulent bivalves. The peppery, creamy green coating suggests ambrosia.

Ingredients:

  • Coarse salt for roasting, plus more, to taste
  • 6 green onions, including about 2 inches of
      green portion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small head radicchio, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch watercress, stems removed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • 20 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 24 oysters on the half shell
  • 1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 500°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pour in enough salt to form a layer about 1/2 inch deep and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the green onions, radicchio, watercress, parsley and basil. Process until evenly chopped. Set aside. Grate the zest from 1 of the lemons into a bowl, then juice the lemon, adding the juice to the bowl. Add the olive oil and vinegar and whisk until blended. Whisk in the mayonnaise and season with coarse salt and pepper. Fold in the herb mixture to form a creamy topping.

Using a thin-bladed knife, completely mask each oyster with about 1 Tbs. of the topping. Set the oysters snugly in the salt layer, allowing space around each one. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of the bread crumbs on each oyster.

Roast until the crumbs are lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. When the oysters are ready, divide them among the plates. Cut the remaining lemon into 6 wedges and garnish each serving with a wedge. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Everyday Roasting, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1998).