This simple dish of sauteed oysters is perfect for a special dinner party or an intimate dinner for two if you scale down the amounts. Tarragon, wine, and parsley add the perfect earthy contrast to briny fresh oysters. Serve over crispy buttered toast points or croutons garnished with chopped parsley for an elegant first course.
If possible, buy locally caught oysters to ensure freshness. Make sure the oysters have a healthy appearance and a sweet sea smell; they should never be fishy. This recipe calls for shucked oysters, which you can do yourself, or ask the fishmonger to do it for you.
- 24 fresh oysters (shucked)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 3 to 4 green onions)
- 1 teaspoon dried leaf tarragon
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Clean and Shuck the Oysters
To shuck the oysters, you need a clean kitchen towel and a short sharp knife with a good handle. The towel will protect your hand from the knife and will help you keep the oyster in place.
Make sure all the oysters' shells are tightly closed. Inspect and discard any oyster that's open or that appears to be open. When in doubt, go the safe route and discard any suspicious oysters. Open oysters can harbor dangerous bacteria.
With the help of a stiff brush, vigorously scrub the oysters under cold running water. This will help get rid of any debris or sand that might still be attached to their surface.
Place the oyster on a towel, rounded side down. Holding the oyster in the towel, insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge, which is on the flat side of the oyster. Once the knife is in the hinge, firmly twist the knife. The oyster should easily pop open. Continue with the remaining oysters.
Drain the juice of each oyster out into a small bowl. Scrape the oyster meat from the shells onto a plate.
Cook the Oysters
Gather the ingredients.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Add chopped onions and sauté until just softened, or about 4 minutes.
Add the tarragon and wine, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add oysters to the pan and cook just long enough for them to curl at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Shake the pan from side to side to keep the oysters coated with the buttery sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.