It seems that many of my holiday traditions are wrapped up in the places from which my family hails, going back generations and to all manner of countries. Traditions and foods transplanted from our great and great-great grandparents. Though I would expect that some sticky points in the translations have occurred over the years, in general, my holidays rely largely on the flavours of elsewhere.
This year, I wanted to add something to our holiday table and traditions which celebrate where we are right now; in this moment, season and of this place. Oysters are of course all about provenance, about the place from which they hail. Luckily these chilly east coast waters produce some lovely varieties. Even with just a few miles between them, oysters have the ability to taste different and distinct from their neighbours. This partially explains my great affinity for them, the other being that they are simply delicious. With winter’s short days and plummeting temperatures the waters have turned truly frigid, making it the perfect time for plump New England oysters.
Of course, the winter season also has me craving foods and flavors that are warming and comfort-inducing. So naturally I settled on the idea of roasted and baked oysters. The mignonette is inspired by a drink I once encountered in my travels which struck me at the time as having lots of potential in the kitchen. I enjoy that fiery kick of biting into a black peppercorn and find it delightful but if you don’t, I would recommend straining them before adding the shallots to the cognac.
Oysters are the ultimate fast food, shucked and eaten raw, or in this case needing less than 10 minutes to bake. They can be made in round after round as people trickle in and out of holiday parties. They also make the perfect late night snack. The Wolf Gourmet countertop oven is beautifully suited to the task of cooking up half a dozen or so oysters at a time. The countertop oven is truly welcomed extra help during the holidays when the ovens are bursting. I’m also looking forward to baking up a storm with it. The technical precision of the countertop oven – especially when it comes to even temperature – is far superior to my fickle gas oven. I’m also excited for the convection option, as again, this is not something available to me in my larger ovens.
With the kitchen inevitably churning during the holidays, things can become quite crowded both in the ovens and around the island. I love the idea of setting up a little oyster station slightly off to the side so guests can help themselves and be included in the pure joy of the holiday cooking process as well.
Wishing you and yours a happy and delicious holiday season!
Krissy O’Shea is the blogger behind Cottage Farm, a freelance photographer and a prop and floral stylist living in New England. She has also designed and produced events, including Kinfolk gatherings, media events, weddings and other parties over the years. She holds an MFA from the San Francisco Arts Institute.
The Wolf Gourmet countertop oven with convection bakes, broils, roasts, proofs, toasts, and warms – all in a fast, energy efficient way.
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