Mike Lata receives a shipment of oysters in the kitchen at The Ordinary (left); his steamed oysters with bagna càuda (right). Photographs by (Lata) Ruta Elvikyte & (oysters) Christopher Shane
January 22, 2015
Straight from the Sea The Ordinary’s Mike Lata shares a favorite oyster recipe
Written by Marion Sullivan
Although hundreds of oysters are served up on the half shell each evening at The Ordinary’s raw bar, chef and co-owner Mike Lata often craves the bivalves steamed and served with bagna càuda, a warm Italian dip. “Barely cooking the oysters so they are still plump with sea water makes it impossible to stop eating them,” he says. His versatile dip can be put to work in other dishes, too. “The bagna càuda is a favorite at The Ordinary because of the savoriness it adds to most all seafood,” he adds. Try making it at home yourself!
Steamed Oysters with Bagna Càuda
(Serves 4) For the bagna càuda: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 anchovies in oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Leaves of 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is tender, about three minutes.
Working in batches if necessary, put the anchovy mixture, thyme, parsley, and vinegar in a blender and puree. Tightly covered, the bagna càuda will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Serve warm or room temperature.
For the oysters:
5 lbs. local singles
Fill a large oyster steamer half full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Put the oysters in the steam basket, insert into the steamer, and cover. Steam the oysters until their shells just barely crack open. Remove the oysters and serve them to be shucked at the table or lay them out on baking sheets and shuck them in the kitchen.
To serve, either spoon the bagna càuda directly over the oysters on the half shell or place the oysters on saltines and spoon some bagna càuda over over them.