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ST. CLAIRE DONAGHY | INDEX-JOURNAL

Wesley Kelly with Inn on the Square shucks oysters.


Roasted, baked, broiled, fried or slurped straight from the shell, oysters are revered by seafood lovers.

These briny-tasting bivalves are also said to be good sources of protein and are naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals including protein, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc and vitamin C.

David Epps, executive chef at Greenwood's Inn on the Square, has developed a seasonal baked and broiled oyster recipe incorporating fresh mushrooms, leeks, cream and rendered bacon. Although rich, it's a bit different from Oysters Rockefeller.

"The Pernod adds a nice anise or licorice flavor to the sauteed elements of the dish," Epps said. "You top the oysters with the saute and Gruyere. It's a good fall and winter dish and it's hearty."

 

OYSTERS PARISIAN by David Epps, executive chef Inn on the Square

6 medium to large whole oysters, shucked

1 cup smoked bacon, diced small

1 cup thin cut leek stems

2 cups thinly-sliced shitake mushrooms

1 ounce Pernod (or anise-flavored liquor)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1 ounce cold unsalted butter

1 ounce panko breadcrumbs

salt and pepper, to taste

In medium sauce pan add bacon. Render over medium heat until fully cooked. Add leeks and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and saute until browned. Add Pernod. Cook until alcohol has evaporated. Add heavy cream. Let cream reduce by half. Stir in cold butter. Slowly stir in half of the cheese until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and reserve.

Place oysters on cookie sheet and place in 400 degree F oven for 2 minutes. Remove oysters and turn oven to broil. Using a spoon, top each oyster with a dollop of the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle as much or as little panko and grated cheese as desired. Place back in oven on top rack and broil until golden brown and cheese has melted. Serve immediately and enjoy.

 

Montague's Restaurant in Greenwood has long been a local hot spot for oyster appetizers and more. Executive Chef Neil Talbot and general manager T.J. Jenks suggest the classic oysters casino, pairing oysters with zesty lemon, vegetables and bacon. Although there are variations of the dish, including making it with clams instead of oysters, bacon is a must.

MONTAGUE'S RESTAURANT OYSTERS CASINO

1 pound rock salt

24 fresh shucked oysters

8 strips of bacon

1 large garlic clove

1 shallot

1 red pepper

2 stalks celery

4 lemons

1 pound unsalted butter

à ½ cup minced fresh parsley

à ¼ cup minced fresh thyme

4 tablespoons oil, suitable for high heat

Step 1: Make Compound Butter

Soften 1 pound of butter. Add juice of 4 lemons and the zest of two lemons. Salt and pepper to taste.

Finely dice garlic, shallot, red pepper, celery and bacon. Heat 4 tables of oil in a sautà © pan and add vegetables and bacon. Sweat on high heat constantly stirring until vegetables are slightly translucent and soft and bacon is cooked. Add fresh herbs and stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and chill.

When vegetables are well chilled and to softened butter and evenly distribute across the butter. Using plastic film, lay compound butter on a sheet and wrap it completely to work into a roll about 1 inch in diameter. Tightly wrap compound butter in plastic film and refrigerate overnight. The compound butter can be frozen and saved for 3 months.

Step 2: Cook the Oysters

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread one pound of rock salt in an even layer across a baking sheet. Place oysters on top of rock salt. Slice à ½ inch coins off of compound butter roll and place on top of each individual oyster. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Serve with saltine crackers and freshly grated horseradish.

 

OYSTER PIE recipe from the cookbook "Main Street United Methodist Church Originals" and Catherine and Suzanne Nicholson. (Oyster pie is a classic Southern dish for the holiday table.)

Servings: 6

1 1/2 pints oysters, drained

1 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 1/2 cup cracker crumbs

2 cups milk or half and half

1 cup celery, finely chopped, (optional)

1 cup butter or Oleo, melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

Mix bread and cracker crumbs. Spread and layer in a greased baking dish. Cover crumb layer with drained oysters. Beat the egg; then add milk, salt, pepper, butter and celery. Mix well and pour over crumb layer and oysters. Bake at 350 degrees F, until slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Although ticket sales have already concluded for the Rotary Club of Greenwood's Oyster Roast and Seafood Bash on Saturday, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy oysters: -- Saxy Wednesdays with Oysters at Inn on the Square's Fox and Hound Lounge, beginning as early as 2 p.m. and continuing through happy hour on Wednesdays. Cost: $1 per oyster. There's even someone available to shuck oysters for you. Live music by saxophonist Steven Galloway. -- Abbeville Chamber of Commerce Oyster Roast, Lowcountry Boil, Barbecue and More, 4 to 8 p.m., March 12, on the grounds of the Burt-Stark Mansion. Tickets: $35 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger. Available at the Abbeville Chamber and Welcome Center. Live entertainment by Jake Bartley Band. Bring lawn chairs. Opening oysters demands a little prowess and strength. Equip yourself with a sturdy work glove, oyster knife and a towel. Holding the oyster steady with your gloved hand, insert your blunt-tipped oyster knife into the narrow-hinged end and twist until the shells loosen and the hinge pops open. Then, slide the knife blade against the flat upper shell to cut the large muscle and free the oyster. If the hinged end doesn't open, try the wider end. (Source: http://www.epicurious.com/archive/holidays/valentinesday/all-you-need-to-know-about-oysters)