Easy? Check. Impressive? Check. Let this delicious baked oyster recipe with herb butter and prosciutto be your next party trick.
I love a good cocktail party, don’t you? It doesn’t have to be anything tooooo fancy — better if it’s not, in fact. But a little bit of an excuse to feel pretty, be festive and have fun is always a good thing. (Introvert real talk: an hour before getting ready, I rue the day I committed to a party like this, whether hosting or attending. But upon arrival everything changes, and I’m always beyond glad to have made it happen.)
I won’t lie. I love getting together with friends, but a nearly equal measure of happiness for me comes from great food and drink.
And even though I truly love to cook, nurturing that love involves pacing myself rather than cooking to death all the time.
I’ll say this: I’m impressed with the first people who figured out that oysters are edible (or that there’s a way to open the shell at all, to be honest). I’ll continue to be impressed no matter how many times someone says, “Well, they were starving, probably.” Still. This is one of those kitchen skills that you CAN get good at with hardly any persistence at all, and no more than half as much bravery as it takes to show up at your first yoga class. Take it from someone who’s cut herself on a stalk of Brussels sprouts: if I can shuck, you can shuck.
Step by Step Guide to Making Herb Butter Baked Oysters
- Preheat the frying pan: Line the bottom of a heavy 12-inch frying pan with about 1/4 inch of Kosher salt. A cast-iron skillet is preferred for its superior heat retention. Preheat the pan over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes, until the salt starts to make some little popping noises.
2. Scrubbing and Shucking the Oysters
- Scrub the oysters: Scrub the oysters well under running water to remove all sand and dirt.
- Shuck the oysters: Hold each oyster in a kitchen towel with the cupped side of the shell facing down so you won’t lose the beautiful liquor when you open it. Insert the tip of an oyster knife firmly into the hinge and twist until it pops open. Run the knife across the inside of the top shell. Run the oyster knife between the meat and the bottom shell to fully release the meat from the shell so it can be slurped up later.
- Arrange the oysters: Place shucked oysters on a rimmed baking pan lined with a big sheet of gently crumpled aluminum foil to prevent tipping. Discard top shells.
3. Preparing the Herb Butter
- Melt the butter: In a small pot, melt the butter with the minced shallot over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the herbs and zest: Remove the pot from heat and stir in the minced basil, parsley, and lemon zest.
4. Cooking the Oysters
- Arrange the oysters in the pan: Quickly arrange the shucked oysters in the preheated pan.
- Top with herb butter: Top each oyster with a spoonful of the herb butter.
- Cover and cook: Cover the pan with a lid (carefully use foil if you don’t have a lid that fits) and cook for three minutes, until the oysters are just opaque. They’ll continue to cook a bit from the residual heat in the pan.
5. Final Touches
- Add prosciutto and lemon: Sprinkle a little bit of chopped prosciutto and a squeeze of lemon juice over the oysters.
- Serve warm straight from the pan.
Carolyn is the voice behind the popular blog Umami Girl and writes frequently for other food-related publications. Equal parts live-to-eat and eat-to-live, she holds certificates from both the French Culinary Institute and the eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition program. Carolyn has lived and worked in New York and London and currently resides with her husband and two daughters in a sweet little seaside town in New Jersey.