These marinated oysters are elegant enough to be called cocktail oysters, but the name was already taken – picnic it is. Serve them on bread, crackers or simply on forks, at celebrations of all sorts.
You'll need to cook the oysters lightly first, which you can do by smoking or poaching them on the stovetop. If using a smoker, divide the oysters and their liquid between two muffin pans. If you wanna use whole oysters, you could grill them open over a hot fire, reserving the liquid along with the meat. Makes 1 pint.
2 pints yearling or extra small oysters
1/4 cup celery, minced
1/4 cup shallot, minced
1/4 cup fennel, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup chives, minced
If using a smoker: smoke the oysters at 180 degrees F until cooked through and lightly smoky in flavor, about 25 minutes. If poaching on the stovetop: gently heat the oysters and their liquid in a covered pan over medium heat. Cook until the gills ruffle. Remove from heat and let them cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, add the celery, shallot, fennel, lemon juice, salt and sugar and let sit until the shallots soften, about 10 minutes. Add the olive oil, capers, chives and oysters with their liquid. Taste and add salt and lemon juice or sugar to taste until you reach a nice balance of savory, sour and sweet. Store the pickled oysters in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve on your favorite crackers.