Baked Oysters with Marmite
Marmite is gross, but this dish is good. I get these amazing beach oysters from Outlandish Shellfish Guild in Harriot Bay on Quadra Island. Kathy and Victor raise the most amazing west coast shellfish, seriously the best in my opinion. Each oyster is the size of your hand and around 9 years old. The depth of flavor is what makes this dish work, it’s an umami tsunami from the marmite, the cucumber-metallic finish of the oyster and the rich duxelle. You could substitute another oyster, but just make sure it’s a larger one as they are more suitable for cooking.
Derek Dammann’s Baked Oysters with Marmite
For the oysters
- 6 extra-large beach angel oysters
- 2 6-inch pieces bull kelp
For the yolk-enriched mayonnaise
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 600 ml canola oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the marmite mayonnaise
- 2 cups yolk-enriched mayonnaise (see recipe above)
- 2 tablespoons marmite
- 2 tablespoons reserved oyster liquor, strained through a fine mesh sieve
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
For the duxelle
- 9 ounces white button mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup green onion, very finely sliced
- Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
Under cold running water, thoroughly scrub the oysters to remove any algae and debris.
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 1/2 cup of water and the bull kelp to a simmer over medium heat. Add the oysters curved side down and cover the pot with the lid. You are not looking to completely cook the oysters, you want the shell to just pop slightly and the flesh to be just slightly set. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the oysters from the pot and immediately shuck them open and remove the meat from the shells to stop the cooking. Reserve the bottom portion of the shells for the serving vessel and any liquor that is left in the shells or from resting the oysters. Once the oysters have cooled to room temperature, carefully slice each piece evenly into 3.
For the Yolk-Enriched Mayonnaise
Place the yolks and mustard in the bowl of a food processor, then with the machine running, drizzle in the oil very slowly. Especially at the beginning, so that you achieve an emulsification. Keep adding the oil until it is all gone. If you feel the mixture is getting too thick, you can add a splash of water to thin it. Once all of the oil is used, add the lemon juice and the vinegar and season to taste.
Note: If the mixture looks like it is separating and you notice little flecks in the mixture, it has broken on you and you need to start over. However, you can use the broken mayo to do this. Get a clean stainless steel bowl to which you’ll add a new egg yolk. Slowly start to drizzle in the broken mayo drop by drop and continue whisking until you have a new emulsified sauce.
To Make the Marmite Mayonnaise
Whisk everything together until smooth and season to taste with the salt.
For the Duxelle
In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs, taking care not to over mix them so that they do not become a slurry.
Heat the olive oil and the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat and fry the mushrooms with the thyme for about 12 minutes, until you have a softened mixture. Season with the salt and white pepper and deglaze with the white wine. Cook the mixture until the wine has completely evaporated and the duxelle holds its shape when stirred. Adjust the seasoning and cool completely.
Carefully fold in the green onions.
To Finish the Dish
Make 6 little nests for the oysters by bunching up some tin foil. Rest an oyster shell on each nest and place them on a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place 1 tablespoon of the duxelle in the bottom of each shell and spread it out from the lip to the hinge of the oyster shell.
Place the sliced oyster on top of the duxelle and spoon the marmite mayonnaise over top. Spread it out until it is completely flush with the edges of the shell. I can’t tell you exactly how much, because that depends on the shell size.
Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until you see slight bubbling around the edges of the shell. Remove from the oven while you heat the broiler to high.
Carefully broil the oysters to glaze the tops of the shell—this goes very fast so don’t walk away—about 10 seconds. Remove from the oven again and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
To keep them balanced on the plate you can mix some kosher salt with a bit of water and make a salt nest to hold them upright. Some decorative seaweed is a nice touch too. Keep a watchful eye that your guests don’t eat the salt!! It’s not garnish, nor mashed potatoes, nor rice.