Fresh oysters on the half shell are, to my mind, perfect just as Mother Nature made them. Sweet and briny, cold and full of zinc and protein. But in February, it’s kind of nice to warm these babies up.
My favourite Oysterman - and foodies do tend to stay faithful to one oysterman - is Patrick McMurray of Ceili Cottage in the Leslieville 'hood of Toronto.
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup shredded Gouda or Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. finely minced chives
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
6 oysters on the half shell
Pre-heat the broiler of a conventional oven or toaster oven.
In a bowl, mix all ingredients, except the oysters, together.
Arrange oysters in their shells on a baking sheet. If they are tippy, you can nestle them into a bed of rock or coarse kosher salt to keep them level. Top each with a nice spoonful of crumb and cheese coating, then broil until golden and melted, about 2 to 5 minutes. Keep a close watch, panko can go from golden to black in the blink of an eye!
Oh, Patrick! You know what they say? When Irish eyes are smiling, they're probably up to something!