Recipe: Chef Jim’s Holiday Oysters

Looking for a new family favorite? The holidays around the Smailer house wouldn’t be complete without this warm, cozy heirloom dish.

Serves 3 people

1 fennel bulb (trimmed, cored and finely diced)
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and finely diced)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
24 oysters (any type will work well)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat the butter and oil over medium high heat add the vegetables. Let the mixture brown on the bottom before stirring.
  3. Stir with a spatula to brown ell edges evenly. Add a little salt and a generous grind of fresh pepper.
  4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. Shuck the oysters and place in the cast iron pan, being careful not to lose any of the liquid from the oysters.
  6. Top the oysters with the vegetable mixture and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The topping should be very hot and the oysters just cooked.
  7. Garnish with a fennel frond and enjoy this warming comfort dish.

Chef’s notes:
This recipe has been in the family for 30 years, and it’s perfect as a first course or side dish. I like to serve at least 8 oysters per person, and it’s imperative that it’s served immediately and very hot. It’s a nice touch to serve the oysters from the cast iron pan they were cooked in, straight from oven to table.

Chef Jim's Holiday Oyster Recipe

Seasonal Seafood to Tempt the Palate

Wild salmon and wild halibut have arrived for the spring and summer season.  These two fish are truly an iconic American species and always popular at the Boulder Cork.  The fish are sustainably harvested under strict quota systems.  With good marine stewardship we should be able to enjoy these two fish for years to come.  I eagerly await these two “king of fish” and will have them on the menu and as specials all season long.

Jim with SalmonPair either of these flavorful fishes with a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from the Boulder Cork’s award winning wine list. Pinot Noirs, which are light on tannins, go well with salmon.  For baked halibut a Pinot will also work. Also, consider a Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.

I am sharing two quick and easy recipes that may be used with both fish. I recommend grilling salmon on a charcoal or gas grill.  I think halibut’s mild flavor is best suited for oven baking or pan sauté. Enjoy!

Parsley Vinaigrette

  • 2 large bunches of flat leaf or curly parsley with tough stems removed
  • 2 tsp. shallot minced
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of best quality olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in to a food processor and make a course puree. Spoon on to fish and serve.

Buttermilk and Fresh Dill Sauce

  • 3 T buttermilk
  • 6 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T celery chopped fine
  • 2 T red onion minced
  • 2 T fresh dill chopped
  • 2 T parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp coarse mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and fresh pepper

Combine above ingredients with a whisk and spoon over fish.