Oysters Kirkpatrick, also called Oysters Kilpatrick, may be a classic English recipe involving oysters, cheese, Worcester sauce and bacon. The credit for the name is attributed to chef Ernest Arbogast of the Palm Court (later the Garden Court) of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel who named the dish after Colonel John C. Kirkpatrick, who managed the hotel from 1894 to 1914. Variations on the dish may have been prepared well before this name was assigned.
Oysters Kilpatrick In Australia
Oysters Kilpatrick are a retro classic. While some people consider the cooking (or mere dressing) of an oyster to be a travesty, when done properly these techniques can highlight the oyster’s own flavour characteristics and may help introduce the humble bivalve to new audiences. Known by many chefs as ‘Killers’, Oysters Kilpatrick are an unspoken and guilty pleasure of many an oyster lover.
The key to these is to make sure that the sauce is balanced – it should highlight the sweetness and saltiness of the oyster, not smother it. We specify using medium-large pacific oysters in this recipe, the smaller Sydney Rock oysters are very easy to overcook. However, you can use any oysters at hand – simply adjust the cooking times depending on their size. The oyster should be warmed through, but not shrunken or rubbery!
- Saute the chopped bacon (or pancetta) in a little oil on a medium heat until very crisp. Drain on paper towel and cool.
- Chop the shallot as fine as possible.
- In a small jug, combine the finely chopped shallots, crisp bacon and all of the sauces. Taste and add more Tabasco if desired.
- Line a baking tray or dish with either scrunched up aluminium foil or 2 cm (¾") of coarse rock salt. This is to hold the oysters in place during grilling.
- Place the oysters face-up on the baking tray, ensuring they are secure and will not topple over. If necessary, push them firmly down into the foil or add more rock salt.
- Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon of the sauce combination.
- Place oysters under a hot grill for 2 minutes. The sauce should brown slightly on top and the oysters should be warmed through. A good measure of their readiness is when the edges of the oyster start to shrink slightly away from the shell. An overcooked oyster will be shriveled, tough and chewy.
- Remove from the heat and garnish oysters with parsley or spring onion. A squeeze of lemon before serving is also nice.
- BBQ sauce can be substituted for the tomato ketchup. We recommend caution when adding the other sauces as BBQ has it's own spiciness. You might try half of the measures to start with a work up from there to achieve the flavour you are wanting. The key to these is to make sure that the sauce is balanced – it should highlight the sweetness and saltiness of the oyster, not smother it.
- We specify using medium-large pacific oysters in this recipe, the smaller Sydney Rock oysters are very easy to overcook. However, you can use any oysters at hand – simply adjust the cooking times depending on their size. The oyster should be warmed through, but not shrunken or rubbery!
- If you're serving Oysters Kilpatrick as an appetizer, you can generally plan on three to four oysters per person. For an individual course before the main dish, you might want to serve each person five or six. The exact quantity also depends on how much your dinner guests enjoy oysters. The sauce in this recipe will top up to 12 oysters.
- If using rock salt, make sure it's a thick layer that can stabilize the shells.
- You can cook Oysters Kilpatrick on a BBQ grill rather than using your oven's broiler. According to Weber BBQ you prepare the barbecue for direct cooking over high heat (230°C - 290°C) (445°F - 550°F). At the final cooking stage (Instructions #7 above), arrange the oysters on the grill and cook over direct high heat, with the lid closed for 2 - 3 minutes.