I've loved little cocktail smoked oysters that come in a tin since I was a child - still, do for that matter. But one year my brother Loren showed up for a family gathering with a cooler full of oysters he bought the day before in Florida. We'd smoked a salmon for dinner that night so because we had a smoker that was still hot and smoky, it seemed logical to try smoking some oysters. Oh my God. The first three dozen disappeared instantly and a second three dozen quickly hit the fire. These are even easier to make using a stove-top smoker.
- 8 - 12 fresh, live oysters
- Set up your stove-top smoker according to its directions.
- Add oysters, cover, and smoke for 15 - 20 minutes until oysters open.
Personally, I like these just the way they come out of the smoker with a hint of smoke complementing the brine. But you can certainly add some cocktail sauce or gremolata if you wish. My grandfather insisted that oysters required saltine crackers to be eaten properly. (Granddaddy also insisted on cocktail sauce that he made himself - at restaurants.)
My preference is to either eat the smoked oysters plain or try one or two different mignonette sauces. Two of my favorite variations of mignonette sauces include one with champagne and another with tequila. Toss a few pomegranate seeds on top of each for a unique texture and sweetness. Pair smoked oysters with a bit heavier wine than you would raw oyster. A heavily-oaked Chardonnay, an extra dry champagne (a bit sweeter with almond overtones), or a Rose with more weight would suit these oysters well.
This Recipe's Aphrodisiac Qualities
The critical ingredient in oysters which ramps it to the top of most aphrodisiac lists is their zinc. Referred to as the essential “male mineral” because of its link to testosterone, which is critical for the health of the prostate and sperm. Oysters are one of the richest natural sources of zinc. This mineral allows the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid/omega-3 group of fatty acids), to be processed in the body to help men and women have a more healthy sexual response and hormone metabolism.
Zinc is beneficial for both men and women when it comes to fertility. It's been shown in studies that increasing zinc levels of infertile men can boost sperm levels, improve the form, function and quality of sperm and overall, decrease male infertility. For women, zinc is key for reproduction health because it aids in the egg formation, the egg's journey down the fallopian tube and overall hormone regulation.
Edited by Joy Nordenstrom