By David Harbilas
As much as I love innovation in cooking I sometimes think that all the hype over molecular gastronomy and anything like it is just bullshit.
Old fashioned dishes like oysters Rockefeller have survived mostly because they appeal to our senses on a basic level; much of molecular gastronomy is meant to make us think, and as wonderful as it may be to involve our brains in the dining process it is ultimately our senses that are engaged.
This is a dish that engages the senses and makes use of simple techniques which can be duplicated at home.
- 4-6 oysters, shucked
- Â½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tomatoes
- Â¼ cup parmesan
- 4 large basil leaves
- salt and peper
- extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a small pot of water on the stove to boil and prepare an ice bath. Cut an X in the tomatoes and place in the water for 10-20 seconds, then plunge immediately in the ice water. Peel the tomatoes with a pairing knife, then cut in half cross-wise to expose the seeds. Squeeze the seeds out or scrape with a spoon, then dice the tomato flesh into small dice. Place the tomatoes in a small saucepan with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook over medium heat until thick and pulpy.
Remove from the heat and cool. Mix the tomatoes with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Chop the basil and add to the breadcrumb mix. Drizzle in enough olive oil to bind the mixture. Spoon a small amount of the mix onto each of the oysters, enough to cover the meat. Place the oysters on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the crumbs are brown. Serve hot.