Renea Hushour, Judy Bloodworth and Karen K. Boughton enjoying oyster shooters at the Hilton Head Oyster Festival.

Oysters and the letter R of the alphabet go hand in hand. Why? Months with the letter R in them are the months to eat oysters! And I have a quick easy microwave method to cook them in a snap! When we lived in Corpus Christi, I taught microwave-cooking classes from 1984-1987. I worked with Carolyn Mashburn; we were the original Food TV stars. Yes, we were on the local cable channel sponsored by Amana Appliances as they offered “lifetime microwave cooking classes” with the purchase of an Amana microwave. More than once I received phone calls at home from frantic at home cooks on Thanksgiving asking me to walk them through and remind them how to cook in 3.5 to 4 hours a golden brown-crusted 18-pound turkey in the microwave. Yes, it is not only possible but also one of the moistest and delicious turkeys you will ever eat! After Carolyn moved, I was a solo act and, by request of the CC school administrative office, I expanded my teaching to area high school home economics classes. In a stylish business suit and wearing high heels, I would park in the school parking lot and lug with me two microwaves, dishes, microwave-safe platters/ pans, groceries and serving plates and utensils. I would set up and proceed to demonstrate to a class of 15- to 18-year-olds how to cook a 2 1/2-pound standing rib roast, baked potatoes, hot Italian vegetable platter, a cake and a few sauces to top raw oysters, if they were in season. The complete meal was ready to serve in less than one hour. Yes, they were very impressed. As for those “life time microwave cooking classes,” in the studio and on television, they came to an end when our family moved to Kingwood, Texas in 1987. I do regret I did not know about cooking bivalves in the microwave then and, in fact, I just this year tried it and they cooked wonderfully. “Please Join Our Table” as we start with oyster shooters and then on to more oysters and clams.

Betty and Renea’s Oyster Shooters

This recipe was inspired by the many times I enjoyed oyster shooters with Betty and Renea Hushour. Betty was my mother’s best friend and, although my mom hated oysters, Betty Renea and I loved them and we always started our day at the annual “Oyster Festival” with an oyster shooter or two. It’s an easy recipe…a fresh raw oyster is placed in the bottom of a salt and spicy pepper rimmed shot glass and then the oyster is topped with a bloody Mary mixture. “Bottom’s Up!”

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 ounce of vodka per shooter

3 teaspoons Hawaiian pink salt or celery salt

1/4 cup Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 48-ounce jar of V8 juice

Juice of two fresh lemons

2 tablespoons of Montreal steak seasoning (grind in spice grinder)

6 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon celery salt

Garnish ingredients: pickled okra, lemon slice, olive and or a cherry pepper, etc.

DIRECTIONS: In a large pitcher, mix all ingredients except the vodka, Hawaiian pink salt and Tony Chachere’s seasoning. On a large flat plate, combine the salt with Tony Chachere’s seasoning; set aside. Wet the rim of a small 4-6-ounce glass. Dip the glass in the Hawaiian salt mixture. Carefully drop an oyster into the glass, add the V8 juice mixture and the vodka. Garnish and enjoy!

Betty and Renea Hushour, Hilton Head Island, SC

Here is my recipe for a quick and easy appetizer. I like to include a warm loaf of rustic bread or a baguette with herbed butter to sop up all the juices and sauce.

 

Karen’s Quick Microwaved Oysters and Clams

INGREDIENTS

6 clams and 6 oysters, alive and raw in the shell

SAUCE INGREDIENTS FOR THE CLAMS

3 tablespoons melted butter

Juice of one large or 2 small limes (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon white wine

2 teaspoons Szechuan or Tabasco hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder with parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion tops

2 tablespoons crispy cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

SAUCE INGREDIENTS FOR THE OYSTERS

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon catsup or chili sauce

1 teaspoon Szechuan or Tabasco sauce

2 teaspoons horseradish

1/4 teaspoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion tops

*SPECIAL UTENSILS NEEDED

2 oyster platters with 6 indentures (optional)

1 oyster knife

DIRECTIONS/ CLAMS: In a small bowl, combine clam sauce ingredients and set aside. Place clams on a microwave-safe platter. Place in microwave and cook on full power for 1 minute. They should now be partially open. Remove from oven and, using a paring knife, carefully open the clams and remove top shell. Detach the clam from the bottom shell, place it back in the shell and onto to one of the oyster platters. Top with the sauce, chopped chives or green onion tops, bacon and serve.

DIRECTIONS/ OYSTERS: In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce ingredients and set aside. Place oysters on a microwave-safe platter. Place in microwave and cook on full power for 1 minute. They should now be partially open. Remove from oven and, using an oyster knife and holding the oyster very carefully, wrapping it with a towel or using oyster gloves, pry open the pointy tip of the shell by prying open the tip with an oyster knife until the shell pops open. Now, completely remove top shell. Detach the oyster from the bottom shell, place it back in the shell and onto to one of the oyster platters. Top with the prepared oyster sauce and serve with crusty bread. Recipe inspired by one that French Chef Jacques Pépin prepared.

My Greek Oysters

Since these go under the broiler, I use an oven-safe stainless-steel pan lined with rock salt, which helps to steady the oyster shells and keeps them from rocking around while baking/broiling.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 teaspoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

2 dozen fresh oysters

1/3 cup finely chopped leeks (white part only or use shallots)

1 (6-ounce) jar marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped, reserve drained juice

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained really well by wrapping in a towel and twisting out the juice, squeezing the spinach dry (do not use fresh spinach)

2 teaspoons Greek seasoning or to make it a Cajun dish, use Emeril’s seasoning

1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano

4 ounces soft goat cheese with herbs, softened

1/3 cup * Greek kasseri cheese

2 tablespoons capers

*Greek kasseri cheese. A salty, soft, stringy Greek cheese. If you can’t find it, use a mix of mozzarella and pecorino romano

DIRECTIONS:

Cook oysters as directed using my microwave method, allow to cool to touch. Shuck the oysters, discarding the top shells, keeping oysters in the deeper bottom shells. Sprinkle a thick layer of rock salt in a rimmed baking sheet or a jellyroll pan. Place oysters in shells on the rock salt; set aside. Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add drained artichoke hearts and spinach, sauté 2 minutes. Add in Greek seasoning, oregano and goat cheese. Top each oyster with 1 heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture; sprinkle oysters evenly with kasseri cheese. Broil oysters 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve topped with capers, and a drizzle of the reserved artichoke liquid.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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