Cool and glistening, raw oysters have dedicated fans, but the bivalves appeal to a wider audience when heated. Oyster’s sumptuous meat shrivels and toughens with extended cooking, but you can cook oysters in the oven as long as you use a light hand and the right technique. Cooked oysters add an elusive rich taste to other ingredients, complementing rather than overwhelming other flavors. Always select fresh oysters from a trusted market to ensure a clean taste.
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Baked in Shell
Preheat your oven to 450 degree Fahrenheit.
Rinse, dry and finely chop the baby spinach. Chop about 3 tbsp. butter into small pieces. Place both into a bowl and sprinkle on about 1/3 cup of fresh breadcrumbs.
Chop a piece of pancetta or 2 strips of bacon into a small dice. Saute until it turns very crisp and brown. Remove the bacon or pancetta with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Shuck the oysters, or open them, by prying open the shells with a blunt knife inserted near the hinge of the shell. Run the knife under the oyster to sever its attachment to the shell.
Put the rock salt onto the bottom of the baking pan. Nestle the oysters in shells into the salt. Place on the middle rack on the preheated oven and heat for 5 minutes. Remove the baking pan to the stovetop.
Top each oyster with a large spoonful of the spinach mixture, the browned pancetta and a small amount of breadcrumbs. Place the baking pan back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes until the crumbs crisp and turn golden brown. Serve immediately.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Shuck the oysters and reserve the liquor, or open the container with the shucked oysters and put into a bowl.
Halve the endive, remove its outer leaves and slice it paper thin. Place the oysters into the ovenproof dish. If the oysters are large, cut them in half first.
Pour enough heavy cream over the oysters so that the liquid just covers them. Scatter a layer of endive chiffonade, or thin slices, over the cream and oysters.
Place the pan onto the middle rack of the preheated oven and cook until the cream bubbles, the endive browns and the edges of the oysters curl slightly. Serve immediately.