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shellfish recipes

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

Baked Oysters Mornay

Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

If there is one shellfish I had to learn to love, it’s oysters. But when I finally decided that I truly loved oysters, I became a wee bit obsessed. Thus began my fascination with cooking and baking with oysters. Which is how this lovely Oysters Mornay happened.

Actually, I was testing several different recipes for Oysters Rockefeller a few years ago and I’ve decided I really love my baked oysters covered with a sauce and maybe some cheese and a little something crunchy for added texture.

In the beginning I made a boozy béchamel to use on my baked oysters but then I decided it needed more than just a boozy béchamel. It needed a Mornay. Mornay sauce is much like a boozy béchamel but with cheese. Gruyère to be specific.

I also love the spinach included in Oysters Rockefeller so why not just merge the two recipes and call it grand! To complete this opulent little shellfish recipe, I top the Oysters Mornay with a Panko and grated parmesan and bake.

The result is a spinach laden baked oyster topped with boozy cheese sauce and crunchy Panko. Who’s hungry now?

Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

These Baked Oysters Mornay are so fun (and sort of messy) to make and even more fun to eat. They work well for a light dinner with a glass of white wine or as a starter for dinner guests.

Now you’re probably thinking, I’m not shucking all those oysters only to bake them in boozy cheese sauce.  Me neither. However there are two methods to securing oysters for your Baked Oysters Mornay. Often times you can find them in jars in the seafood area of your market. They will come in size small, medium or large. You want to purchase the small or medium oysters. They’re sweeter and tastier. As well, some seafood markets sell shucked oysters just like they sell shelled crab or shrimp.

I know you’re wondering how to find oyster shells. I found stainless steel oyster shells online here. They work beautifully for this recipe.  Or, I ask my fishmonger if they’ve got fresh oyster shells they can give me. The fresh oyster shells only last one or two recipes but they look great on the platter. However, the stainless are just as easy and also create a lovely presentation.

This is such a festive recipe for the summer and I promise it’s easy to prepare and it’ll impress your guests.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Baked Oysters Mornay

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • One dozen shelled oysters
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or aged Swiss
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked and squeezed spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • Dash of tabasco
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 375F.
  • Place the oyster tins (or shells) on a baking sheet and place one oyster in each tin.
  • Mix together the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan over medium heat add the butter. When the butter is melted stir in the flour. Let the flour and butter cook for a minute or two and then slowly whisk in the warm milk. Just as the sauce thickens add the 1/4 cup white wine. Then stir in the pinch of nutmeg and shredded cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly salt and pepper the cooked spinach and place a little on each oyster. Then drizzle a tablespoon or two of Mornay sauce over the spinach and then top with the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs mixture.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until bubbly and the tops are golden brown. Often times the tops don't brown well enough for me, so I place the baking sheet under the broiler for a minute to get the color I like.
  • Remove the oysters from the oven and give them a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately with Tabasco.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Seafood

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

    I can’t think of any dish that feels more comforting to me than a big ‘ole bowl of steamers.  Whether it be clams or mussels, my enjoyment level that comes from a big bowl of steamers placed in front of me at the table is mountainous.  Living on both coasts of the U.S. has made a seafood lover out of me.  And with that seafood love comes my deep affection for these lovely shellfish.

    I remember my first encounter with mussels.  Living on the East coast years ago, we frequented a little seafood restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island called The Black Pearl.  There, I dined on the most succulent of mussels bathed in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs.  From that moment, I became a huge fan of steamed shellfish whether they be bathed in wine, beer, broth, with chorizo or homemade sausage, fresh herbs, onions and garlic… no matter, I’ll eat them.

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

    To mix it up a bit I thought why not steam these little lovelies in curry?  And just as I was toying with the thought, Ranger Craig and I dined at a fabulous restaurant in Bend, Oregon which served Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry.  This absolutely proves the point – if it’s a good idea, someone, somewhere, has already thought of it.

    So now I’m passing along this dish to you.  Whether it be spring, summer, fall or winter, this dish seems to compliment any season.  Be sure to serve with a bowl of rice to add to the curry when you’ve polished off the mussels.  Or crusty garlic crostini to dip into the curry is also quite divine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

    Just a quick note.  When I purchase fresh mussels at my market or fish market they are bagged and tied.  When you get home, untie the bag, place the open bag of mussels in a bowl and set the bowl in your refrigerator.  It’s best to use the mussels the same day they are purchased, however, they are fine if used the very next day.

    Serves 2 for an entrée or 4 for a starter

    Ingredients

    2lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed and rinsed in cold water and little “beards”s pinched off.  Don’t add any mussels that are open or broken.  If you squeeze the mussel shut and it opens again, it’s not any good.  It’s rare I can find the smaller mussels, but if you find them, snag them.  They are sweeter and less briny than the larger mussels.

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 tablespoons green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste)

    1 can organic coconut milk (don’t use the “light” coconut milk)

    2-3 lime leaves (now easily found in the fresh herb section of most markets)

    1 stalk lemongrass, split lengthwise (also found in the herb section of most markets)

    1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

    1-2 cloves garlic, smashed

    1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

    1/2 small red hot pepper or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you don’t like spicy food omit the pepper)

    Squeeze of fresh lime

    Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onions

    Directions

    In a large pasta or soup pot (you can also use a large skillet but I prefer a large pot), heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the green curry paste.  Let the paste warm and mix with the oil for about 30 seconds or so.

    Then add the coconut milk, lime leaves, lemongrass, Asian fish sauce, smashed garlic, fresh ginger slices and red pepper if using.  Stir to combine and simmer on medium to medium low for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The coconut milk will thicken a bit.

    Turn the heat up to medium high and add the mussels.  Cover with a tight lid and let them cook for a few minutes, or until all the mussels are open and opaque.

    Give them a toss in the curry and then pour into a large serving bowl.  Garnish with lots of fresh chopped cilantro or green onion.

    Serve with rice to eat with the curry when all the mussels are gone.  Or some toasty garlic bread for dipping.

    Recipe inspired by my Thai Green Curry Steamers in Bend, Oregon

     

     

    Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Fresh Spring Greens, Mandarin Oranges and a Citrus Vinaigrette

    Sea scallops seem to be one of the “scariest” shellfish to prepare.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve ruined perfectly good scallops.  The key is to be patient.  Scallops really are simple to prepare and can make a fast, delicious dinner if you follow a few important steps. 

    Make sure you have a good quality heavy bottom skillet that distributes heat evenly.   A cast iron skillet is perfect, but if you don’t have one, just a good heavy bottom skillet will do.  Coat the bottom of the skillet with a bit of butter and olive oil.  Heat the skillet on medium, and when the butter/oil is hot, but not smoking, you’re good to go.  Add the scallops and let them sit and sear.  Most people get a little nervous and try moving the scallops before they are ready.  So be patient and when the scallop develops a nice brown crust on the bottom, it’s time to flip. 

    There are a multitude of sauces you can use to top scallops.  My favorite is simply a citrus vinaigrette which will compliment the scallops and the fresh greens.  If you’d like something spicier, the spicy orange vinaigrette in the pan seared dover sole blog would be delicious as well.   Happy Cooking!

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1 ½ lbs fresh dry packed sea scallops

    Olive oil

    Kosher salt (Kosher sea salt is excellent on scallops, just use more sparingly)

    Fresh cracked black pepper

    4-6 cups fresh spring greens (mix of Arugula and baby Spinach is nice too)

    1 cup mandarin orange segments

    1 lemon zested and juiced

    1 lime zested and juiced

    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    ¾ cup olive oil

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

    Directions

    Vinaigrette: Vinaigrettes are typically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (or acid).  Combine lime and lemon juice to make ¼ cup.  Then add the vinegar, honey, Dijon and zest.  Whisk together until blended.  As you whisk, drizzle in the ¾ cup olive oil.  Whisk until all ingredients are well blended together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

    Heat a large skillet on medium and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.  If the scallops are moist, dry them with a paper towel and then sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. 

    When the oil is very hot, but not smoking, add the scallops to the skillet, about 1 inch apart.  Let the scallops sit and sear in the pan for a minute or two.  The scallops will begin to develop a nice golden brown crust and when the scallop is ready to be turned it will easily lift up off the bottom of the pan. 

    Sear both sides of the scallops (a few minutes on each side depending on thickness) and then place on a warm plate.  Toss the vinaigrette with the fresh greens and mandarins, and mound the greens on 4 plates.  Next, place a few scallops on each mound of greens and then drizzle with additional citrus vinaigrette. 

    This is delicious all by itself, but if you’d like to add another side, herbed wild rice, brown rice, cous cous or risotto compliment scallops beautifully.  Or try a side of fresh fruit drizzled with a little lime juice, and honey, and tossed with chopped fresh mint.