Oyster Shell Canapes

Oyster shell canapes; the elite classic. Anything oyster rings the sophistication bells, as fresh seafood requires immediacy, high standards of preparation and elegant presentation.. Most people are put off by the idea, but the greatest host know that an event of class without oysters, is not so classy. This is a relatively simple little appetizer to prepare but the quality comes from the care preparation and careful selection of the key ingredients. For this we have added extra tips:


For a batch of 18 oysters, a decent amount to serve up to 9 or 10 guests:

3 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or three pieces.
Olive oil, does not have to be extra virgin as the taste is better more mild
18 teaspoons bread crumbs
18 bocconcini balls
Sea salt, less is more
18 oyster shells

IMPORTANT: Whenever working with shell fish, it’s important to make sure the ones you pick are NOT open when you get them. The most fresh will be the ones firmly closed and sealed.


First you need to wash the shells. Sterilize them by thoroughly washing them in very hot water, soap should be used also. You want to get all the excess grime and dirt off, as you will be serving the shell to your guests, so the cleaner they are the better. This is another very good reason you should buy them properly closed, any slightly open ones will likely be rotten inside, and will certainly be ruined by this step if they are not.

To open them you’ll need a very thin but sturdy bladed knife,with the point of the knife facing out and away from you, find the crease of the oyster and force the tip of the knife into the crease. Its best to do this against a surface with your hands away from the direction the knife is facing. once you have the knife in flat, spin the blade to force open the crease and the shell will come apart. Remove any dirt and scrapping pieces of shell created in the process.

Dry them and put them onto a large baking sheet. Add a teaspoon of pesto into each shell, sprinkle over a little salt and a bit of bread crumbs. Place a bocconcini ball on each and split it in half. Add another spoonful of pesto, a slice of cherry tomato and a good squirt of olive oil.

Throw them under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and starting to turn golden. You have to serve them immediately out of the heat, Oysters left to cool down and become room temperature will not be as impressive.

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