Oysters are synonymous with celebration, but there's no need to save them for a special occasion. This elegant appetizer is the perfect beginning for a romantic dinner for two. These plump fresh oysters baked with a delicate almond, leek, and pancetta topping served with a glass of sparkling wine, you'll think you are dining in a five star restaurant.
Total Time: 20-25 minutes
- 1-2 cups coarse salt
- 6 large fresh Canadian farmed oysters
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 leek - finely minced (white and light green part only) approx. 1/2 cup
- 3 thin slices pancetta – 30 grams
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons almond flour*
- 1 teaspoon fresh chives- finely chopped
- Pinch of paprika
- Additional olive oil for drizzling.
*make your own almond flour by grinding a few almonds at a time in a coffee grinder. No almonds, no problem, just substitute bread crumbs.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- In a shallow baking dish, make six small piles of coarse salt. The salt will hold the irregular oyster shells level during the baking process. Don't despair if you don't have any coarse salt on hand. It's not necessary, you can also crumple tinfoil into little nests to hold the oysters upright.
- Shuck the oysters, and discard the flat top shell.
- Nestle the oysters in their shells atop the mounds of salt, and start to prepare the topping.
- In a small skillet, over medium high heat sauté the minced leeks in the olive oil until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently until the leeks start to lightly brown around the edges and the pancetta becomes crisp.
- Add the white wine and increase the heat to high in order to deglaze the pan and reduce the wine. Stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by about half. This will only take a couple of minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the almond flour, chives, and paprika. Mix until everything is combined.
- Top each oyster with a heaping tablespoon of the leek and pancetta mixture and little drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake until the edges of the oysters start to curl and the topping is lightly browned, about 6-9 minutes depending on the size of your oysters.