From the fantastic weather to the seasonal swing in social events, there are plenty of reasons to love February in South Florida. One of the most delicious reasons to love this cooler month is it is peak Apalachicola oyster season. Hailed for their size and mellow flavor, these oysters are best enjoyed slowly. The shelled delicacies taste best when harvested in fall and winter, and they're loaded with zinc—a mineral that helps the body produce testosterone—which gives them their aphrodisiac reputation, reason enough to enjoy a few this Valentine's Day. Low in calories and cholesterol, they’re also good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Some of our favorite places to order oysters for two are PB Catch in Palm Beach, Spoto’s Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens and City Oyster in Delray Beach.
Don't want to leave the house? Cook up a romantic dinner with one of these oyster recipes.
Grilled Mignonette Butter Oysters
- ½ pound unsalted butter,
- softened to room temperature
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbs. minced shallot
- ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1 pinch of finely chopped parsley
- 3 dozen oysters
- Light a grill. In a food processor, pulse butter with red wine vinegar, shallot, pepper and parsley until fully blended. Place butter in plastic wrap; form into a log roughly 2 inches thick. Refrigerate until butter firms, then slice into 36 pats.
- Place oysters flat-side up on hot grill. Cover grill and cook until oysters open, about five minutes. Remove oysters from grill and quickly remove top shell, keeping as much liquid inside as possible, and loosen oyster from bottom shell with oyster shucker. Add pat of butter to each and return to grill. Cover and cook until butter melts and oysters are hot, about one minute. Serve immediately.
Florida Oysters Rockefeller
- 36 oysters, shucked, on the half shell
- 2 cups spinach, cooked and drained
- 1/2 cupcrispy bacon, crumbled
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 bell pepper, diced small
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 1/4 tablespoonhot pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 lemons, quartered for garnish
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven on high broil. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine spinach, bacon, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, bell pepper, parsley, hot sauce and lemon juice. Stir ingredients to combine. Taste spinach mixture, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Place one tablespoon or so of the spinach mixture on top of each half shell oyster. Place all stuffed oysters on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Carefully watch the oysters under the broiler, and let them cook for several minutes until the oyster edges curl and the top of the stuffing is golden brown and bubbly. Serve oysters over a bed of ice cream salt with lemon wedges.
Lemon Garlic Oysters
- 36 oysters in the shell
- 6 ounces butter, melted
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Pan-Roasted Florida Oysters
- 12 oysters, on the half shell
- 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup bell pepper, fine diced
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
- sea salt to taste
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- lemon, quartered for garnish
Preheat oven broiler on medium-high. In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, bell pepper, garlic and parsley. Stir butter to combine all ingredients, and season lightly with salt and butter. Place all oysters in an oven-proof roasting pan. Evenly distribute a dollop of the mixed butter over the top of each oyster. Place the roasting pan on the center rack in the oven. Carefully watch the oysters under the broiler; once the sides of the oyster turn gray and bubble around the edges, it’s time to remove them from the oven. Let oysters cool slightly, and serve with lemon and crusty bread.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup celery, sliced thin
- 1 12-ounce container oysters, drained, reserve liquid
- 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Heat skillet on medium-high; add butter, onions and celery. Sauté until onions are translucent and beginning to turn brown. Add oysters, garlic and remaining ingredients except cornstarch; mix well. While mixture is cooking, dissolve cornstarch in oyster liquid; add slowly to skillet, stirring until thickened. Serve in 8-ounce gratin dish or over cous-cous, pasta or rice.
Recipes and images courtesy of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.