Monday, March 15, 2010


This week my recipe was Grilled Oysters with Mango Pico de Gallo and Red Chile Horseradish (how's THAT for a name?). I was terrified to make this recipe only because I knew I would have to eat it. The only encounter I have ever had with oysters was at Red Lobster with my Mom (who happens to LOVE oysters) and we ordered them on a half shell, raw! I'm always open to trying new things, so I added a little hot sauce and took a saltine and put it in my mouth thinking this can't be THAT bad right? WRONG!! It was the most horrible thing ever...(if you have a weak stomach, skip the next few sentences) It was like I had hawked a loogie and then added a few spices to it and then tried to swallow it again (I still gag just thinking about it). My eyes were watering and my Mom was telling me to just swallow it, which was easier said than done. I finally got it down after "gag tears" rolled down my face and I'm sure I turned green and horrified our waiter. So, needless to say I was wanting to skip right over this recipe and never look back...BUT I made a committment to this book, so I was determined to push through it and make the best of it!

So Sunday rolled around and it was time to make the oysters. Luckily we had some friends over who like oysters (and some that didn't) so it was a good mix to try and polish off the 20 oysters that this recipe called for! I had decided before even making this recipe that I was going to purchase my oysters from Central Market, since their food is brought in daily and I knew I was purchasing something fresh! It was hard for me to go there, but ya know, we just HAD to. That was so sarcastic by the way! I absolutely LOVE Central Market and could spend days there-Adam actually calls it "my Home Depot" because he gets the same giddy feeling when he goes into a Home Depot. Unfortunately when we got to Central Market to gather all the ingredients (that we didn't get at Kroger), the "seafood man" wasn't as helpful as I was hoping he would be. They had 3 kinds of oysters-Gulf, Blue Point & Malpeque. I told him I was grilling them and asked which would be the best oyster to purchase for this and he proceeded to tell me that either the Gulf, Blue Point or Malpeque would be good. I'm thinking to myself, Really?! I know one of those 3 would be good, considering those are the only ones you have here! He said the Gulf were the saltiest and the Blue Point were the least salty, so I decided to just go right in the middle and get the Malpeque. Apparently after looking up some fun facts on this oyster, it is very popular in Europe and has won several awards for its flavor and texture. So I'm glad I chose that one!

We got home safely with the oysters and the first thing I did was take them out of the bag, scrub/clean them well, get them on ice and in the fridge until my grill was ready. You do not want to seal the bag they come in, because they need to have good air circulation. It is important that the oysters are alive right up until consumption (whether raw or cooked). If you buy them and one is already open then throw it away because it is not safe to eat and could cause you to be very sick! Anyway, I got the oysters put up and it was time to start on my mango pico de gallo and red chile horseradish. I started with my Red Chile Horseradish and measured out 1/2 cup of horseradish and then strained it to get all the juice out. Then I just placed that in a bowl, added a little salt and my acho chile powder and blended it well. Easy as pie! Then it was on to the chopping for the mango pico de gallo (get your neck & back braces ready)! I started with the mango and cut off a little piece from the top and bottom, so that it had a flat surface for me to stand it on to peel the skin off with my knife. The I layed it on it's side and cut off slices around the pit of the mango. After that I julienned each strip and then cut those pieces into itty bitty cubes. I repeated these steps with my onion and jalapeno. This took about 45 minutes alone because I am not the fastest chopper and wanted everything to be uniformed and pretty! It was well worth the neck and back pain because I got many compliments on the presentation. The recipe calls for Recao (Puerto Rico), also known as culantro (Latin America) or long corriander (Asia). Since I couldn't find this as Central Market, it says the substitute is Cilantro. I chopped my cilantro super fine and added it into the bowl with my other ingredients. Then I drizzled in my olive oil and honey, squeezed my lime juice and added in a little sea salt and pepper. I decided to use the sea salt since this pico was going on top of my oysters, but you can use any kind of salt for this...the recipe doesn't specify. Then you just set the bowl aside and let all the yummy flavors of the pico marry together!

Finally it was time to grill the oysters, so my handsome assistant, Adam, once again lit the grill for me and set it to high. After waiting a few minutes I went out to put my oysters on the grill and all I saw were flames and smoke, YIKES! They weren't huge flames and the grill lid was closed but I could definitely tell that it wasn't right! Luckily I had a bowl of water in hand and Adam came and put out the fire. The grill had gotten up to 750 degrees, oops! So note to self for next time you grill, be sure to watch it so you don't catch your house on fire! Luckily nothing was damaged and everything was under control. I let the grill heat up again to about 450 degrees and carefully dipped each one of my oysters into a bowl of water and placed them directly on the grill and closed the lid. The reason for dipping them in the water before placing them on the grill is to help the oysters steam and open inside the grill. It says to let them grill for about 4 minutes until they slightly open, but after 4 minutes none of mine were open, so I left them on for another 4 minutes (total of 8 minutes) and they were perfect! If you decide to make this recipe, just be sure to watch and gauge your time, depending on your grill.

After I removed the oysters from the grill, I let them cool slighty before opening them, since the shells get super hot! Once they were cooled, I took a butter knife and inserted it into the opening of each shell, twisted to pop it open and removed the top part (that the oyster is not in) and threw it away. If you have any oysters that do not open and there is no seam, throw those away as those are bad, just like if you buy one that is already opened. I luckily only had one that did this,thank goodness, because oysters are not cheap and I didn't want to waste a single one! Next I took a teaspoon measure and dipped out a pretty little dollop of my mango pico on each shell right above the oyster. Then I used my fingers to place a tiny bit of the horseradish on top of that. I tried using the measuring spoon for this too, but it just wasn't working for me! When in doubt, get your hands dirty!

We also made garlic-pesto chicken breasts (pre-marinated from Central Market, of course) and asparagus to go along with the oysters. Those of us who weren't too fond of the oysters all toasted and ate them together, or so I thought! After we toasted our shells I put mine down the hatch and started chewing and looked around to discover everyone else was still staring at their oyster! I think they were waiting to see if I spewed before trying it for themselves. To all of our surprise they were actually good! The pico was a great compliment and helped with the texture of the oyster. Since I grilled them they weren't as slimey if they would have just been raw and luckily they were super fresh and had no gritty texture whatsoever! I only managed to get 5 down, but I was super proud of myself for even eating one! Overall, my hesitancy to make this recipe was for nothing and everything turned out perfect! We had great company and great food which made for an overall great night!!!

Recipe Rating: Easy, except opening some of the oysters (if you don't have strong hands)
Good Leftover: Absolutely not, I would not recommend this!
Tip: Always make sure that you are buying your oysters from a trustworthy source that gets it in fresh, daily.
Stay tuned in 2 weeks-Grilled Shrimp in Lettuce Leaves with Serrano-Mint Sauce

You can find the Grilled Oysters with Mango Pico de Gallo & Red Chile Horseradish recipe here:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are such an amazing cook. I would be terrified of this recipe but you make it look so easy! I bet they tasted amazing. Good job!!