When we started Joe Beef, the town was suffering from a weird vibe, a kind of up-the-ante feeling with regard to food: people went out to eat like college kids drink beer. If someone was doing testicles, you could count on someone else to pair them with pizza. Feet were kept on chickens, and heads and eyeballs were served as sides. There was no end in sight, much less vegetables.
To put a damper on the frenzied quest for more, we thought that maybe the next ingredient should be inedible: not gold shavings, but what about an old radio? Doesn’t “oysters on the radio” sound good? When we ran out of radios, we used bags of sugar, erotic novels, or old album covers.
The oysters themselves are simple: plump specimens topped with crisp bacon, chives, potatoes, eggs, cream, and some bread crumbs. Serve yours on any inedible ingredient of choice. —Joe Beef
big, meaty oysters
Coarse salt for partially filling pan
slices bacon, finely diced
(120 g) peeled and finely diced small potatoes
clove garlic, finely chopped
(80 ml) whipping cream (35% butterfat)
chopped fresh chives
(30 g) finely grated aged Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
(30 g) dried bread crumbs
(55 g) unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal pieces
Shuck the oysters, pouring the liquor into a cup and keeping ?the oysters on their bottom shells. Set the oysters and liquor aside. A good trick for cooking the oysters is to fill a big cast-iron frying pan about half full with coarse salt, ?put it in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450° F (230° C), then heat ?the pan for an extra 15 minutes. This will help to accelerate the cooking process.
Place the potatoes and salted water to cover in a small pot over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Drain the potatoes, let cool, and pat dry. Meanwhile, in another frying pan, crisp the bacon over medium-high heat until light brown. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, rapidly whisk together the egg yolks, the cream, and whatever oyster liquor you were able to gather. Add the chives, Cheddar, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the bacon-potato mixture and whisk to mix. Divide evenly among the oysters, spooning it on top. Dust the tops with the bread crumbs, then finish with a piece of butter.
Pull the cast-iron pan out of the oven and carefully nest the oysters in the hot salt. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the tops start to turn golden. Serve immediately.