No doubt about it, this is an indulgence. It's also a great way to eat oysters: The bivalves, bacon, vinegar and lemony vin blanc sauce hit all the right flavor notes. At Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, these come 4 to a plate, but 2 would make a fine first course for a light meal.
Make Ahead: The wooden skewers need to soak in water for 30 minutes.
Servings: 8 oysters
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 8 strips uncooked, thinly sliced bacon
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, cut into small dice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 bunch thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oysters, shucked
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal; when the coals are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 5 seconds. Have ready 2 wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes.
Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until it has reduced by half. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it.
Place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes, then set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is translucent (do not brown it), 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has reduced to 3 tablespoons. Add the peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves and cream, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the saucepan from the heat, strain and discard the solids, return the vin blanc sauce to the saucepan and cover it.
When the bacon is cool enough to handle, wrap one slice around each oyster and thread 4 wrapped oysters onto each skewer, using the skewer to keep the bacon in place. Transfer the skewers to the grill grate, cover the grill and cook until the bacon is cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes, turning over the skewers after about 8 minutes.
Remove the oysters from the skewers and transfer them to individual small plates. Drizzle them with the balsamic reduction and the vin blanc sauce, and serve.
From Jeff Black, co-owner of Pearl Dive Oyster Palace in Logan Circle.
Tested by Micki Douglas.
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