This weekend , just as last year, we're off to the 28th annual St. Mary's County Oyster Festival, which hosts both the U.S. National Oyster Cook-off as well as the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Contest. We submitted our Oysters Denzer recipe as pictured above to the National Cook-off, expecting it would be picked as a finalist, which didn't happen.
Anyhow, we'll be there to hang out, shoot pictures of the dishes that did make it to the finals, and later take in the oyster shucking competition. If all goes as planned, you should be reading here about it next week.
In the oyster cookbooks that have been published every year since the early 80's in conjunction with the National Cook-off are hundreds of recipes. They don't include the myriad more that have appeared over the last century in cookbooks and magazines. One wonders just how many additional ways could be dreamed up for preparing oysters. We thought our "Oysters Denzer" was one for sure. The name is borrowed from the former line of wonderful and exotic soups that appeared on this site Sept. 25, 2005.
We suspect perhaps that on first glance someone deemed Oysters Denzer as just another take on oysters (or clams for that matter) casino. Our recommendation is that you prepare it for yourself, enjoy, and arrive at your own conclusion.
1 dozen oysters
1/8 pound pancetta, cut in thin slices and then minced
2 tablespoons green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons pimentos, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons parmesan reggiano cheese, grated
Thoroughly combine the pancetta, green pepper, onion, cilantro, pimientos, and lemon juice. Heat at least ½ inch of rock salt in a foil lined pan under a pre-heated broiler for 15 minutes. While rock salt is heating up, open the oysters and top with equal portions of the vegetable mixture. Apply the grated cheese evenly as a final topping. Remove line pan with heated rock salt from the broiler and rest oysters in the rock salt. Broil until cheese has melted and is rapidly browning---typically 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from broiler, and with tongs or a large spoon, remove the oysters to a plate immediately to prevent overcooking.