All recipes yield enough topping for 24 small to medium-sized oysters and serve approximately 4 people as a main course or 8 as an appetizer.
TO PREPARE OYSTERS
Rinse unshucked oysters under cold water and discard any open-shelled oysters that do not close when tapped with a finger. Carefully shuck oysters to remove the top shell and loosen the oyster from the bottom shell. Keep the oyster meat and liquor in the bottom shell and set aside on a clean baking sheet or plate until ready to top and cook. The top shells may be discarded.
TO GRILL OR BROIL OYSTERS
Place a scant teaspoon of your chosen topping on each oyster, then place the oyster shells directly on a medium-hot grill (gas or charcoal) or, if broiling in the oven, place the oyster shells on an oven-safe
pan lined with 1⁄4 inch rock salt (to keep the shells level) and place under the hot broiler. Grill, or broil, for approximately 5–7 minutes. Oysters are done once the topping is melted and a golden-brown ring forms around the oyster meat in shell. Be careful not to overcook, as oysters are delicate.
*TO PREPARE ROSEMARY CITRUS TOPPING
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Place the compound butter mixture in the refrigerator until it has re-hardened. This can be used as soon as it re-hardens or kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*TO PREPARE HARISSA TOPPING
Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process on high. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify. The harissa should have the consistency of thick ketchup. This can be used immediately or kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*TO PREPARE ROCKEFELLER TOPPING
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the shallots and spinach, cooking for 2 minutes or just until the spinach wilts. Deglaze the pan with the Pernod and season with salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes. Add the cream or half and half and continue to cook the mixture on medium heat for 2 minutes, or until it the liquid has been reduced.
Serve the oysters hot, on a platter lined with rock salt to keep shells from tipping.
Recipes courtesy of Hog Island Oyster Co.