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Recipe
Italian Oysters al Forno

Italian Oysters al Forno

These luscious oysters would make a terrific start to any holiday meal. They are topped with a lemony artichoke dressing seasoned with garlic, Parmesan, and Italian herbs and will make your guests happy, happy!

  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ cups small diced cooked artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 ¼ cups coarse dry breadcrumbs, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup oyster liquor, clam juice or chicken stock
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 pints shucked oysters
  • Cleaned oyster shells, for baking oysters
  • Rock salt, for baking oysters
  • Shaved green onions, for garnish

Directions

  • In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not browned. Remove from the heat and fold in the artichoke hearts, bread crumbs, Parmesan, lemon zest, and black pepper. Season the mixture to taste with kosher salt. (Keep in mind if you are using clam juice that it will be salty; if so, hold back on the amount of salt added at this point.)

     

    In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, oyster liquor and lemon juice. Fold the egg mixture into the artichoke stuffing. Remove the bay leaves and set “stuffing” aside until cooled.

     

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F when you are ready to cook the oysters and place a layer of rock salt onto a large baking sheet. Place each oyster in an oyster shell and nestle the shells into the rock salt. Top each oyster with a spoonful (about a generous tablespoon) of the artichoke topping and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake until the edges of the oysters curl and the oysters are just cooked through, usually 12 to 16 minutes. (If you do not have oyster shells for baking, you can bake the oysters (patted dry) in shallow ramekins or in a shallow casserole or gratin dish, with the “stuffing” spooned on top. The bake time may need to be adjusted in this case.)

     

    Garnish with the green onions and serve hot.

     

    Makes 1 quart of “stuffing”, enough for approximately 4 to 5 dozen oysters (or 2 pints of shucked oysters). Any unused “stuffing” may be frozen for future use.