An embarassment of oysters
August 20, 2008 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I seriously overbought on oysters and clams and need to figure out what to do with them (other than raw).

I'm making dinner for 2 tonight and picked up a dozen oysters at the local Chinese grocery. Problem is they're huge, about 1/2 lb each and bigger than my (large) hand. I made it worse by having them throw in 10 cherrystone clams because they looked good. My original plan was adapting this Oysters Casino recipe to the grill but that will just be too much rich food for us.

I love raw shellfish, but I won't suck it down after paying $.69 for it. They move a lot of seafood and the shellfish itself smells fresh, but that's a little too much of a gamble for me. I'd love some ideas about what to do with both the oysters and clams keeping in mind the following:

1. The shellfish should be cooked, but I'm not the type to want to overcook it into oblivion.
2. It's 105F here, I love chowder dearly but it's just not that time of year.
3. I need something that will heat the house minimally, or can be done on a grill or outdoor burner.

Special bonus: They had frog legs right next to the shellfish and I thought, "I've never eaten an amphibian before." What can I do with 2 pairs of meaty ones?
posted by TungstenChef to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd just keep it simple and grill 'em with a touch olive oil & salt & pepper.
posted by gnutron at 5:19 PM on August 20, 2008

James Beard's New Fish Cookery has four pages of frogs' legs recipes. Do any of these appeal to you? I could type one out, if so:

Cold, vinaigrette
Fried (three kinds, including Southern)
Saute (Fines herbes, Italienne, Nicoise, or Provencale)
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:36 PM on August 20, 2008

Oh, man, this sounds good. HUITRES FARCIES CASENAVE, from the same James Beard book. Mix shallots, parsley, chervil, and butter; top each oyster with a spoonful of the mixture; add salt and pepper; and bake on a bed of rock salt in a 475 degree oven for 4 or 5 minutes. (You can broil them, if you're careful.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:40 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Or... Devils on Horseback? Bacon, but no butter, so maybe it isn't as rich?
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:41 PM on August 20, 2008

BBQ oysters. I've tried this over a charcoal fire and they come out great. I haven't tried grilling clams, but here's a recipe (looks like the same routine as the oysters).

You're on your own w/ the frog legs. I can't get that National Lampoon cover out of my head.
posted by jamaro at 5:44 PM on August 20, 2008

These are some great suggestions, thanks a lot. A few followup questions. There will be too much shellfish for the 2 of us to eat tonight and I'm afraid that if it's all BBQed in the shell won't be nearly as good tomorrow. I thought of oyster stew at first but it's a little warm for that, any other dishes we can make to extend the meat for a couple days? Also, can clam strips be shallow fried and does anyone have a killer batter for them?
posted by TungstenChef at 5:54 PM on August 20, 2008

Shuck them and freeze them in their liquor (seawater) and save them for a classic Thanksgiving oyster stuffing. One word of caution: if the oysters look dried out in their shells, or there isn't much liquor inside, you should pitch them no matter how they smell or how much they cost.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:15 PM on August 20, 2008

Fry the oysters, cloaked in a little seasoned cornmeal mixed with flour; serve with a spicy-ish remoulade (or in panko, with a soy/ponzu sauce for a Japanese-style version - you want a bound breading for this option). Easily done on the outdoor burner.

You can keep live shellfish in the fridge until tomorrow night - they'll be fine as long as they're in good condition now. Wrap them in a damp kitchen towel, put in a bin in the fridge, maybe on top of some ice. They'll keep for tomorrow's dinner (or breakfast! Taiwanese oyster omelets are killer) with no problems.
posted by peachfuzz at 6:16 PM on August 20, 2008

Clams are awesome with pasta. I frequently buy already minced clams, then just heat them up with some garlic, a little chili and some parsley in a good bit of olive oil (along with salt, pepper, etc., etc...) and it makes a great pasta sauce. Bonus: leftovers refrigerate well for a few days and make a great "What's that your eating?" lunch to take to work.

Given your willingness to grill, jamaro also makes a good point about BBQ oysters. You can also pop them open and smoke them on the half shell on the grill, which is great as well.
posted by Cyrano at 8:34 PM on August 20, 2008

Thanks for the help all, I ended up with a great dinner. I shucked the oysters, and for some reason they gave off almost no liquor. They smelled great though (fresh brine, not low tide) so I kept going. All amounts below are very approximate.

Oysters Casino

Shuck oysters and reserve any liquor to add to butter mixture.

Simmer over low heat until well fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes:
2 T butter
3 chopped scallions
2 chopped cloves garlic
1 chopped rib celery
1 T bacon grease
Fresh cracked black pepper

Mix in 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably panko) and sautee for a minute or two until the crumbs start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve to top oysters. You want this mixture to seem a little dry because it absorbs any liquid the oysters give off while cooking.

Chop in separate containers:
4 large slices crispy bacon
1 loose cup shredded parmesan cheese

Spread bread crumb mixture over oysters, then cheese, then bacon. Put oysters on a preheated grill over medium heat and grill until bubbly and browned on top (5-15 minutes). I pulled them off when they reached an internal temp of 150-160F, they were cooked to the texture of soft scrambled eggs. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice while they're still warm and serve with some sort of crusty bread.

They were AMAZING, totally different from the raw oysters I've eaten. They reminded me of mussels, but they had a milder and more briny flavor. I ran out of time for the clams so I steamed them in white wine, tomorrow is pasta with fresh clams, tomatoes, and basil.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:34 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

The corpse in the library - Thanks for the offer, but typing up a recipe is too much trouble for 2 measly pairs of frog's legs. I'll probably marinate them in some sriracha sauce and see if any guests notice the difference between a "buffalo" and a "bullfrog" wing. ;-)
posted by TungstenChef at 11:43 PM on August 20, 2008

If you have leftover oysters, you could always make some kimchi. Delicious and it lasts forever.
posted by boba at 8:08 AM on August 21, 2008

Oysters en Brochette or my favorite (only if you have the in the shells), Chargrilled Oysters:

Step 1. make a basic Garlic Butter
Step 2. place oyster in shell on grill over hot coals.
Step 3. fill the shells witht he garlic butter.
Step 4. cook for 3-5 minutes.
Step 4.5. about 30 sec to a minute before they are done, spinkle a small bit of finely grated parmesan cheese on them
posted by warriorengineer at 3:50 PM on August 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

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