Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oysters Mexicana

The most important thing about this dish is to use fresh oysters, if you have never shucked fresh oysters don't let it intimidate you, it's not very difficult.
  • 1 1/2 dozen fresh oysters (or enough for 6 per person)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup salsa
  • 80z Monterey jack cheese, cut into slices
  • Pickled sliced jalapeno peppers
  • Saltine Crackers
Shuck the oysters. My method is to first scrub the outside of the oyster thoroughly with a brush, then wrap the oyster in a small towel with the "hinge" tip sticking out, this will give you leverage. Use an oyster knife (or some other thick, pointed, but dullish knife) and wedge it into the "hinge", I find just to the side works better than right in the center of the "hinge". Once headway is made twist the knife to pop the shell open. It won't open all the way, the oyster is still holding on inside, take your knife and slide it along the inside as close the shell as possible to cut it away from the shell on one side. Leave it attached to the other side. Once you have the oyster on the halfshell, give it a good sniff to make sure it smells fresh, then rinse it if you think any shell particles got inside. If you rinse it, make sure you shake out all the excess water.
Place the oyster in it's half shell on a baking sheet and repeat with all the oysters. Once all the oysters are shucked put a small spoonful of salsa on each oyster then top with a slice or two of cheese and one slice of jalapeno. Usually I make these ahead of time so at this point I cover them in foil and put them in the refrigerator until I am ready to cook them.
Preheat oven to 400. Remove foil and place pan(s) in oven to cook for about 12 minutes until the cheese is melty. Don't over cook, you don't want to cook up the oysters.
Serve immediately with crackers. Take an oyster, slide a fork under to dislodge oyster and set it on top of the cracker and enjoy. These are SO good.

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