A point of reference, that is a good place to start. I can still remember Jeff, the oyster farmer extraordinaire, of Pemaquid Oysters, covered in mud with a bag full of over sized oysters and the question, "can you use these?"
The oysters Jeff brought were roughly ten inches long, many as long as a foot, and he could not ship them to restaurants so he asked us if we could use them. Sure I said, not really knowing what we could or would do with giant oysters. Then as he handed over the bag it sparked. Well an idea did. We would use the shell as the plate and serve several giant oysters in the shell. Our first attempt at serving these oysters was as Oysters Rockefeller. We served three oysters on a bed of bacon creamed spinach topped with a soft boiled egg yuzu glacage. Yes, we took a few liberties. These giant oysters became a springboard for ideas and thoughts on oyster preparations and presentations. Another dish we served was oysters with scrambled cauliflower. Of course this was before our introduction to Methocel so we just ground cauliflower and then cooked it with creme fraiche and American cheese. We cooked the oysters in a Champagne cream and spooned them on top of the now scrambled cauliflower.
It is these oyster memories which sparked our recent foray into oyster cookery, the dishes and means in which would serve them. Once again we started with Pemaquid oysters. Really, these are the best I have ever had. In our remote setting, not in Jeff's backyard, we used smaller, traditional sized oysters. We trimmed the oysters and used the trim to make a traditional oyster stew. We then started work on trying to find a balance between the raw and the cooked texture of an oyster. We settled on cooking them for ten minutes at 48 degrees Celsius, then icing them down. The oyster retains its bright briny flavors while taking on a slightly more stable texture.
Once we had our oyster cookery settled we began work on a few dishes. One which truly came together united the poached and chilled oyster with goat cheese, musk melon and arugula. Here we borrowed the approach from our past, plating several oysters and the accompaniments in a single shell.