Sunday, November 12, 2006

Baked Oysters - Countdown to T-Day!

Last night, Mike and I had Thanksgiving dinner. It's not that we were confused or couldn't wait two weeks for the real holiday. It's just that we like to cook (and eat), and our house is filled with stacks of food magazines with beautifully styled, golden birds on their covers. Notwithstanding the enticements of the food media, I like to make time to do Thanksgiving on my own. When T-Day does roll around, I'll be in Cheshire, Connecticut with Mike's, and now my, extended family. We will eat lasagna on Wednesday, cook and eat the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and hike up The Sleeping Giant on Friday. Somewhere along the way, we will fit in a highly competitive beer pong tournament.

I LOVE spending Thanksgiving in Connecticut. But, being the foodie that I am, I can't resist the urge to roast a turkey in my own oven, cook my favorite side dishes and try a few new ones. Last year, I did it a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, when we were sufficiently recovered. This year, I decided to do it ahead of time so I could share the menu here.

Instead of trying to orchestrate half a dozen side dishes to be ready at the same time as our bird, we took the more leisurely approach and made some appetizers in the early afternoon. It's a great idea if you want to pop open a pre-dinner bottle of champagne and start the fun a little early. We bought a dozen oysters on the half shell at the fish market near our house, calling ahead to have them freshly shucked and waiting for us. Baking the shells on a bed of rock salt makes a great presentation, but you could also buy the oysters in a jar, sans shell, and arrange them in a baking dish. This is a lighter version of Oysters Rockefeller, which leaves plenty of room for the rest of the feast!

Baked Oysters
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine
Serves 2-4

1 dozen oysters, either on the half shell or shelled
2 tblsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. olive oil
2 thin slices proscuitto, chopped into small pieces
2 large handfuls baby spinach, thick stems removed
coarsely ground pepper
2 tblsp. pine nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the oysters in a baking dish either on a bed of salt if they are in their shells or alone with a bit of nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking. Drizzle the lemon juice over the oysters.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the proscuitto and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted and proscuitto is lightly browned on the edges. Season with pepper.

Top each oyster with a bit of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top. Bake for 5 minutes, or until oysters are slightly firm around the edges.


Lis said...

This sounds delish! I heart oysters :D

I look forward to seeing what else you've made for your pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner!

Veron said...

ha..haa... we celebrated Thanksgiving early too since my sister-in-law was here to visit. Actually we have another one this coming weekend and the T-day itself. Those oysters look do succulent. Here is a picture of the turkey I prepared :

No-Brine Turkey

christine said...

Those oysters look wonderful. I wish I could say I'm gonna run right out and get some to try this recipe, but, I really don't like oysters all that much. I know, I'm really missing out aren't I?

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