At The Sportsman in England, chef Stephen Harris celebrates the restaurant’s close proximity to the beach and some of the best oyster beds in the country. Here he poaches the oysters in their own liquor before putting them back in the shells and topping with creamy beurre blanc, tangy pickled cucumber and briny caviar.
Great oysters are delicious "naked," as Island Creek founder Skip Bennett says, but sometimes chef Jeremy Sewall dresses them up with a mignonette (vinegar sauce) like this one, made with sparkling rosé.
As a child, New Orleans chef John Besh loved when family friend Mrs. Slaughter made little puff pastry cups and filled them with oysters in cream sauce. In this version, he places the oysters in mini tartlet shells, then tops them with a creamy horseradish sauce and crispy bread crumbs.
Blaine Wetzel grills oysters, then drizzles them with butter flavored with sage, oregano, lemon juice and tequila. He prefers oysters from Samish Bay in the northern Puget Sound, where some food historians say the first Pacific oysters grew in 1919.
This renowned baked oyster dish was created at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans in 1899 by the proprietor, Jules Alciatore. According to legend, the dish was created as a substitute for baked snails, which were hard to obtain from France. It was named in honor of John D. Rockefeller, at that time one of the world’s richest men, because of the sauce’s intense richness. The following recipe is the old Delmonico restaurant’s take on the dish, with the Rockefeller sauce base used not only to make the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer, but also used as a spread on toast to create canapés.
With this mixed seafood roast, Grace Parisi proves that a dish can be both luxurious and simple. "As a kid, I thought shrimp scampi was the height of sophistication," Grace says. "I've taken it several steps higher by adding lobster, oysters and scallops."
This light but intensely oystery soup was inspired by a recipe from Joanne Hendricks. Salsify is a root vegetable shaped like a skinny parsnip; it has blackish skin with white flesh and tastes a little like artichoke hearts. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) or, as a last resort, the pedestrian potato.
There are several tricks to this terrific chowder from Linton Hopkins. He adds potato chunks to the broth for thickness, then pours in a little naturally low-fat buttermilk for creamy tanginess. And instead of fatty bacon, he uses smoked oysters to give the chowder a slightly woodsy flavor.
This sensational seafood-packed gumbo comes from TV personality and F&W contributor Andrew Zimmern. It’s terrific in its simplicity, with a foolproof roux (the mix of fat and flour that is the basis for all gumbos) that requires just 15 minutes of stirring instead of the usual hour.
Chef John Besh says, "This is the only dish worthy of both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at our house." Why? Because it's unbelievably delicious—a bready dressing that's spicy, crispy and nicely briny.
Smoky Oyster Chowder with Bacon, Rosemary and Fennel
This velvety chowder from chef Dylan Fultineer is thickened with a classic flour-and-butter roux. He packs it with plump oysters and tender fingerling potatoes, and adds a kick of heat from dried red chiles. For extra flavor, he uses bacon from Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee, which is famous for its intense smokiness.
This ingenious, briny sauce couldn’t be simpler: Chef René Redzepi purees raw oysters with a little of their liquor, plus rice vinegar and oil. He adds diced blanched vegetables for texture, then serves the dip with potato chips.
Crispy Oysters with Fresh Horseradish Cocktail Sauce
Inspired by the nostalgic New Orleans fried oyster po'boy, Pontchartrain Hotel executive chef Chris Lusk prefers larger, meatier Louisiana oysters for this dish. If you can't find them, Wellfleets are a good substitute.