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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Smoked Oyster Dip

I've learned that I like smoked oysters. A couple of ways. This experiment started as a smoked oyster pâté. I was working on a cross between the recipes from Food52 and Joseph Phelps Vineyard, both of which use cream cheese.

But I decided to use a super strong Egyptian Istanbolli cheese my mother found was too salty for her, so she pawned it off on me. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I would use it in this dish.

The feta-like cheese was so strong I cut back on the salt and lemon. I also only used half of the Worcestershire sauce because of its high sodium content. Switching out parsley for oregano (I never have parsley on hand, but I always have oregano  must be the Latina in me), adding more garlic, and foregoing the lemon zest completely led to a tasty combination. I almost wish I'd left out the Tabasco, it really doesn't add much more than a sour vinegar-y flavor. My other mistake was in using all three tablespoons of milk at once. Given the oil from the smoked oysters (though drained), there was a bit too much liquid.

Therefore, I made a creamy dip instead of a thick pâté. This would make a great sandwich spread, or bagel schmear.

It's good party food. And a perfect vehicle for the fresh chives I recently acquired. I love chives in anything. Even with smoked oysters. They make pretty, edible garnishes.

print recipe

Smoked Oyster Dip
A creamy cheese-based dip perfect for parties.
  • 8 oz Istanbolli cheese (can substitute cream cheese, feta, goat cheese or even ricotta)
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons milk 
  • 1 three oz can smoked oysters, packed in olive oil
  • dash hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • salt & pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl, combine the cheese, scallions, garlic, oregano, chives, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.2. Add the milk a bit at a time, until you reach the thickness you prefer. All three tablespoons lead to a very thin dip, less to a thicker pâté-like texture. Remember you might add oil in the next step.3. Add in the oysters, using a bit of the flavorful oil in the mix. Add the salt and pepper at this point, if needed.4. Spread on crackers or bagels, or serve in a dipping bowl.
Yield: 4-6 servings

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