Shuck your oysters. A quick and easy way to do this is to put them in the oven while you are preparing everything else. Pop them in the oven for five minutes and they will open enough for you to remove the top shell and loosen the flesh from the bottom shell. Pour out most of the liquid in to a jug. Take a shallow baking tray and put about 2cm of rock salt on the bottom. Nestle each oyster in the rock salt so they will be stable and not able to tip and spill out the cooking liquid. You may find you need more then one tray.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add any strained oyster liquor and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the parsley, oregano and hot sauce. Stir and leave on the heat for another 2 minutes. When done, take it from the heat and leave it to one side.
Mix the bread crumbs and the cheese in a medium bowl. Add just enough of the vermouth and 1 teaspoon of the garlic butter to dampen the mixture. When pinched, the crumbs should barely stick together. Using a teaspoon, divide the garlic butter between the oysters. Add a few pieces of pancetta to each oyster. Then cover with the crumb mixture.
Preheat your oven to 200 C. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the oysters start to bubble and the crumbs brown.
Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread.
12 large Achill oysters
Rock salt as needed
4 tablespoons Irish butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
6-8 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
100g parma ham, chopped
Extra dry Vermouth or Pernod
Ocean fresh & ready for the kitchen