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Grilled Oysters and Pancetta
Makes 6 Servings or 30 Hors d'oeuvres
*30 Atlantic oysters (such as Nantucket or Bluepoint)
*30 slices pancetta, sliced 1/16- to 1/8-inch thick
*Coarse rock salt or sea salt
*6 rosemary sprigs or other fresh herb, for garnish
*1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
*2 tablespoons dry white wine
*1 large shallot, minced
*6 tablespoons butter
*Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
*1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
*4 tablespoons Chianti or Valpolicella
1Soak six 7-inch wood skewers in ice water for 1 hour. Shuck the oysters and drain, reserving the liquid. Clean and reserve the deep top shells; discard the bottom shells.
2In a saute pan over high heat, bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Blanch the pancetta for 1 to 2 minutes, drain and cool. Unroll the pancetta so that it is like strips of bacon. Dry the oysters in a paper towel and roll one strip of pancetta around each. For each serving, double-skewer 5 pancetta-rolled oysters and chill for 30 minutes.
3To make the oyster butter sauce, in a noncorrosive saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, white wine and 1/4 of the minced shallots. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to almost a glaze. Add the oyster liquor and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the butter, add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
4To make the balsamic mignonette, in a bowl, combine the remaining shallots with the cracked black pepper, balsamic vinegar and Chianti.
5To grill the oysters and pancetta, preheat a grill (preferably charcoal or, better yet, wood fired). When hot, grill the skewers on one side until the meat is brown and not sticking to the grill. Turn and grill the other side. The pancetta should be crispy and the oysters still moist. Keep warm.
6To serve, spread the rock salt on 6 plates and place 5 of the empty oysters shells on each. Remove the oysters from the skewers. Place a cooked oyster in each shell. Spoon about a half teaspoon of the balsamic mignonette on each oyster. Garnish with the oyster butter sauce and a small rosemary sprig. Serve hot.
  • This grilled oyster dish is one of the oldest in our repertoire. It has been served in five successive restaurants and can be used as an appetizer or a passed hors d'oeuvre. It is even good as a salad with an assortment of lettuces.
  • Source
    Executive Chef Bob Kinkead, Kinkead's Restaurant, Washington, D.C.