My family is lucky enough to live only 15 min away from our local oyster farm (Buck Bay Oyster Farm). The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the finest oysters around. I prefer my oysters raw with an acidic mignonette, but this time I was craving for the tomato base of cocktail sauce but without the cloyingly thick sauce. I decided to do a riff on the classic Bloody Mary, but in a sorbet form. The sorbet was supremely spicy, yet still allowed the subtle taste of the oysters to shine through on the palette. With great-tasting oysters (usually at $1 or more a piece), you don't want to smother them with sauce. You just need a dash of flavor to complement the natural ocean-brightness of the oyster.
The great thing about this recipe is that if you aren't into spicy, you can substitute the habanero tomatoes with a can of regular diced tomatoes and still experience the awesomeness! Also, if you don't have an ice cream maker, you can use the same recipe but freeze the Bloody Mary mixture in a baking dish and scrape it as if you are making a granita. It will just take a lot longer.
Step 1: Ingredients
This recipe yields about 3 cups. This is way more than you will need for 2 dozen oysters, but you can freeze the leftovers and it will last well over a month.
Spicy Bloody Mary Sorbet
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes w/ Habaneros
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Horseradish & Celery Leaves for Garnish
2 dozen oysters
Step 2: Spicy Bloody Mary Sorbet
In the bowl of your food processor, and can of tomatoes, vodka, lemon juice and pepper. Process until combined.
Place mixture in your ice cream maker according to your manufactures directions. I have a Cuisinart. 1.5 quart ice cream maker. The process time for my sorbet took about 30 minutes.
Place sorbet in freezer until ready to use.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can still make this recipe. Just place Spicy Mary mixture into a baking dish and place in freezer. Scrape mixture with a fork every 30 min or so until frozen. The texture will be almost the same as the sorbet, just a bit icier.
Step 3: Shuck Oysters
When consuming raw oysters, it has been my experience that smaller oysters tend to have a slightly more delicate taste than larger ones and are easier to eat. Larger ones are great for roasting or when BBQ'D.
Keep oysters on ice and in refrigerator until ready to use. *** They need to breathe, so do not put them in a sealed container ***.
It's best to have an oyster knife. Oysters have two sides. Top & Bottom. Hold the oyster in your hand, in an old towel or cloth, to protect yourself, with the bottom side down in the palm of protected hand. The narrow hinge part of the oyster should face your other hand. Take the tip of the knife and insert it in the point of the oyster where it hinges. Rotate knife back and forth, while applying good amount of pressure, careful not to slip and injure your hand. If you do this right, you should feel the point of the knife, slip between the bottom and top portions of the shell. The shell with start to separate. Continue working the point between the top and bottom of the shell, until you can get the knife far enough into the shell, about 1/4 '' to pry it open. Applying pressure, pry the oyster open slightly, just enough so you can slip oyster knife around perimeter. Now working with the edge of the knife, push it around to separate top and bottom of shell.
Discard top shell and gently remove any broken bits of shell form bottom. Slide the knife underneath the meaty part of the oyster to completely separate from the shell, making it easy to eat.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Arrange oysters on serving platter. I used a Himalayan salt plate that I stuck in the freezer to keep the oyster shells cold. Next, place anywhere from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon of the Spicy Bloody Mary Mixture onto each oyster, depending on the size of the oyster. Less for smaller sized oyster & more for larger size. Garnish each shell with a celery leaf. Top with a dash of horseradish.