Today is National Oysters Day. Ireland has a long history with these tasty shellfish dating back to the 13th century.
Oysters were bountiful and available. In fact they were a welcome food source during the Great Irish Hunger. Of course nowaday oysters are associated in Ireland with a pint of Guinness and a delicious traditional meal but back then oysters were regularly eaten.
To celebrate the long history between Ireland and the oyster here's a recipe Irish chef Darina Allen gave us:
Sumptuous recipe for hot buttered oysters
These wonderfully curvaceous oyster shells tend to topple over maddeningly on the plate so that the delicious juices escape. In the restaurant at Ballymaloe House we solve this problem by piping a little blob of mashed Duchesse potato on the plate to anchor each shell. We sometimes place some Oyster leaves around the edge of the plate, too.
12 Pacific (Gigas) oysters
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 lemon wedges
4 pieces of hot buttered toast (optional)
Open the oysters and detach completely from their shells. Discard the top shell, but keep the deep shell and reserve the liquid. Put the shells into a low oven (225ÅãF) to heat through. Melt half the butter in a pan until it foams. Toss the oysters in the butter until heated through, approx. 1 minute.
Put a hot oyster into each of the warm shells. Pour the reserved oyster liquid into the pan and bring to a boil, whisking in the remaining butter and the parsley. Spoon the hot juices over the oysters and serve immediately on hot plates accompanied by the lemon wedges.
Alternatively, discard the shells and just serve the oysters on the hot buttered toast. The toast will soak up the juice—simply delicious!
Part of Myrtle's genius is to use ingredients as simply as possible.
Customers at Ballymaloe House come repeatedly to eat these delicious oysters when they are in season.