The recipes on this site arrive here by way of many avenues: recipes from my family, some from relatives, other dishes I’ve discovered while in Greece, something I’ve tried at a restaurant that’s so delicious that I have to reproduce it and sharing with you all, cookbooks/magazines, other blogs or suggestions from the many, many friends who regularly read and follow this blog.
Who is “Emmy” and what does she have to do with this dish? Emmy is really my friend Amy, whom I’ve known since high school so we go way back and we’re still good friends. Amy is many things (we’ll expand on that another time) but she’s earned this nickname “Emmy” because that’s how my mom call’s her with “Amy” with a Greek accent…”EMMY”!
Emmy was recently Down Under (Australia) for business and Emmy’s the type of person who definitely mixes business with pleasure. Just last week I got an email from her squealing like a little girl about these baked oysters she just had at a bar/resto in Sydney. She simply relayed that the oysters were topped with chunky tomatoes, Feta cheese and capers…that’s it. Oh, and a grainy cell phone photo.
Emmy’s enthusiasm plus the simplistic genius of baking oysters (in a Rockefeller style) a la Greque with tomatoes, Feta cheese and capers certainly piqued my interest and here’s the end result: a germ of an idea (by way of Emmy) and my own instincts in the kitchen combine to give you this extraordinary meze/appetizer that’s perfect for entertaining and WOW’ing family & friends.
My friend Emmy would probably never make this dish but she’d be first to order it at a restaurant or invite herself over (with wine in hand) to taste, savour and make all sorts of unami-induced sounds one would think emanated from the boudoir rather than the dinner table.
Baked Oysters “Emmy” With Tomatoes, Capers & Feta (Στρειδια Φουρνιστα με Ντομάτες, Κάπαρη & Φέτα)
(appetizer for 4)
8 live oysters (I used Malpeques)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup scallions or leeks, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup of ripe plum tomatoes, chopped in large chunks
(I used canned)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 dry white wine
2 tsps. of capers
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
pinch of Boukovo (chilli flakes)
1/2 cup breads crumbs (plus extra for topping)
1 cup diced Feta cheese
Pre-heated 450F oven
- In a large skillet, add your olive oil turn the heat to medium then add your leeks, garlic and tomatoes and simmer while occasionally stirring for about 5-6 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and white wine and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce reduces until thick. Now add the capers, dried thyme stir in then add a pinch of chilli flakes to taste. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
- Add the bread crumbs and cubes of Feta and stir-in and reserve. Pre-heat your oven to 450F with the rack set to the uppermost position. To shuck your oysters, you’ll need a flat work surface, an a tea towel to place in the oyster in and protect your hand that will hold the oyster. Place the oyster cup-side down/flat side up and as the boys at Rodney’s Oyster House recommend, stick the oyster shucking knife into the hinge. Jimmy-jammy the knife in the hinge and you will eventually feel the oyster opening. Wiggle the knife and pry the oyster open and then sweep the knife underneath the top shell to cut the muscle off of it. Then place the knife under the muscle of the bottom shell and cut that part too. Remove any visible grit inside the shell and place in a baking vessel that will hold all the oysters. Repeat with the remaining oysters.
Now simply divide and spoon the cooled filling on top of each oyster and sprinkle some bread crumbs. Place in your pre-heated oven until the cheese has melted and the topping has become golden-brown(15-20 minutes). Carefully remove from your oven and place on a platter with a half of lemon. Serve with Ouzo on ice or a Pavlou Estate Kappa 100 Rose Sparkling made from 100% Xinomavro grapes.
Note: Buy your oysters from a trusted fish monger. Ask what type of oyster they are, where they are from and any tips on shucking them. Store in your fridge for up to one day and after shucking them, always ALWAYS have a smell of your oysters. They should smell of the sea and if any fishy smell emanates from it, throw it out.
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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis
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