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January 13, 2012

sweet sweetwaters, part I.

new year’s eve day is a great day to drive up to tomales bay & end up at the hog island oyster company.  i felt very city-girl-in-the-country (a recurring theme) in my mid-thigh length fur vest.  as an auspicious beginning to the new year, they accidentally duplicated my order so six oysters turned into twelve.  add beer.  happy new year!!
i brought two dozen plump & just-a-bit briny sweetwaters back to our friend’s house for the party that night and i made oysters shakuza – my version of oysters rockefeller.  it was the first time that i cooked oysters – i am a lover of them raw with just a splash of mignonette.  the upside is that they were amazing.  the downside is that my dear friend (she is spanish -from madrid- & was wearing this fabulously colorful, long flamencoesque skirt & looked muy caliente) bit down on some shell and cracked her tooth.  ¡me cachis!

oysters shakuza(makes 12)
2T unsalted butter
3T minced shallot
1 ½ cups baby spinach
2T chopped parsley
2T cognac
2T heavy cream
cayenne to taste
salt & pepper to taste
6T grated pecorino-romano
12 medium-to-large oysters on the half shell, picked over for shell fragments
& shells scrubbed well

put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat.  add shallot and sauté for one minute.  add spinach & parsley & cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. increase heat to high &stir in cognac until nearly absorbed.  Reduce heat to low & add heavy cream, cayenne, salt & pepper.  remove mixture from heat.

spoon spinach mixture evenly over oysters & sprinkle with pecorino-romano.  bake oysters until edges of oysters begin to curl and cheese is melted & golden in spots, about 10 minutes.

serve warm oysters in shells.

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