The City Magazine Since 1975

Steamed Oysters with Bagna Càuda

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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

For the oysters:
5 lbs. local singles
Saltines (optional)


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:

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.