Roasted Oysters with Uni Butter Recipe
Ah yes, one of my favorite (albeit oddly scheduled) days of the year. Happy National Oyster Day everyone!
I've celebrated this unofficial holiday a little bit differently every year. Today, I'm going to share my latest culinary experiment: Roasted Oysters with Uni Butter!
Back in June, B and I moved out of our tiny cave-of-an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan into a sun-soaked one bedroom loft in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Living in between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street feels quite appropriate for an oyster blogger, don't you think? We have quickly come to love our new neighborhood (I've already staked out my favorite oyster happy hour joint!). I'm also in love, love, love with my kitchen! Thanks to a skylight above the cabinets, I'm actually able to capture decent photos without the aid of lighting equipment. That means more at-home tutorials and recipes to come...
You Uni Live Once
Uni (pronounced "ooh-nee"), aka sea urchin roe, has got to be one of my favorite things of all time. Intoxicatingly sweet, pungent, and oozing with primordial brine, it's a food that you either love or hate. Like oysters, uni tastes like where they come from and different regions produce very different tasting uni. If you like bold, buttery, umami-filled flavors, you would like uni. It's like the taleggio, foie gras, or century egg of the sea. Sometimes it's sweet and almost citrusy. Other times it's downright funky. You have to be bold. After all, you uni live once. (HA)
The premium uni, sourced from Hokkaido and select Santa Barbara purveyors is expensive, whereas Northeastern uni is lesser in price and respective quality. A tray of these little delicacies can cost about $16-25 per tray at retail, but can go up to $5-8 per piece in a respectable sushi bar. For this experiment, I received a gorgeous tray of fresh uni, presumably from Japan, from Samuels and Son Seafood as part of their uni recipe contest. Nothing beats $Free.99.
Roasted Oysters with Unit Butter
10-12 lobes of sea urchin roe a.k.a. uni
1 stick unsalted butter
1 dozen 3+ inch raw oysters, East or West Coast
Fleur de sel
Making Uni Butter
First thing's first: making the uni butter. It took all of my willpower to not to eat the whole tray in one go. In any other situation, I would have. But I held off. For you guys. (You’re welcome.) One of the great things about uni is it's pillowy texture, so I was a little sad to pulverize these guys up. I have never attempted to make uni butter before, so I decided to follow some guidance by Camille Becerra of Navy.
Step 1: Refrain from eating uni straight from the tray.
Step 2: Set aside 10-12 large lobes of the uni. Warm up a stick of butter to room temperature.
Step 4: Add in the softened butter gradually... or all at once, if you're super impatient like me.
Step 5: Once the uni and butter have blended together, drizzle in half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Blend a little more. Set aside.
Preparing the Oysters to Roast
Whenever you cook oysters, know that the meat will shrink a bit during the process. I try to use the largest and meatiest oysters for my dishes. For this experiment, I had some Bluepoints and Pemaquids on hand.
Step 7: Set your oysters on a bed of kosher salt, rock salt, crumpled aluminum foil, in a baking pan or tray. Alternatively, you can whip out your BBQ Oyster Grill or Oyster Bed. The point is to make sure that your oysters don't tip over its precious juices during cooking and transport.
Step 8: Add a small dollop of uni butter on top of each oyster. Use about one teaspoon for a small oyster, a two to three for a larger one. The butter will melt and cover the entire meat naturally.
Step 8: Turn on your broiler. Place the oysters under the flame and watch it. The butter should melt fairly rapidly. Once it starts to bubble and brown, take the oysters out immediately. Don't over cook your oysters!
Garnishing Your Roasted Oyster
The oyster shells are going to be quite hot coming out of the oven, so handle with care. Roasted oysters are meant to be enjoyed immediately, so don't dilly dally around. Make these your #1 priority.
Step 9: Garnish your roasted oysters with some chopped chives and Fleur de Sel. I also couldn't resist myself and added a final piece of raw uni on top for good measure.
Step 10: Enjoy.