Even if you’re not into eating raw oysters off the shell, you’ll love this baked talaba recipe.
Talaba is the Tagalog word for oysters. Oysters are popular in the Philippines, and there are lots of different variations on how to prepare them.
In this fancy appetizer, you dress up your oysters with sabayon, a creamy sauce made with egg yolks. And a splash of white wine or champagne brings a hint of elegance to the dish.
Then top the oysters with grated cheese and chopped chives, and you have a mouth-watering seafood dish.
The most important part of this baked talaba recipe is the oysters themselves, so make sure you pick fresh ones. I’ll help you choose the best ingredients and walk you through the recipe.
Selecting Fresh Oysters For The Best Baked Talaba Recipe
- First, check the label or tag on your fresh oyster. This will give you valuable information about the fishing and processing procedures.
The label can tell you the certification number of the processor, in addition to other details. Then you can be sure that the harvesters and processors followed national shellfish safety protocol.
- Second, check the oyster shells. If there are any cracks or damage, don’t eat them.
- Finally, use the “tap test” method. Simply tap on the oyster shell of an oyster to see if it closes. If the oyster is alive, it will close its shell when tapped. Since eating dead talaba can be dangerous, throw away any that don’t pass the test.
Oysters: Better Raw or Cooked?
The official US government website FoodSafety.gov says it’s safer if you cook your oysters.
In other words and despite the popularity of raw oyster bars, the government doesn’t recommend them.
If oysters are served raw or undercooked, you can get a bacteria called Vibrio. This bacteria put you at risk for foodborne illness – and sometimes even kills you.
And keep in mind that an oyster carrying bacteria won’t smell, look or taste different.
But, if you cook your shellfish properly, you kill this type of bacteria. There are several methods to do this:
- Boil: 3 minutes
- Bake: 10 minutes at 450 degrees F
- Broil: 3 minutes, 3 inches away from heat source
- Fry: 3 minutes at 375 degrees F
Also, it’s a common myth that lemon juice, alcohol, or hot sauce will kill bacteria. Simply put, it won’t.
Tips and Tricks for Making this Baked Talaba Recipe
- Skip the salt. Since oysters are so salty, you don’t need the extra sodium in the sauce.
- Skip the sabayon, if you don’t feel like making a fussy sauce or eating eggs. Rather melt your butter in a pan, and fry your shallot in it. Add your alcohol, the cream and the chives. Poach the oysters in this liquid. Put each oyster back in its shell, pour a little sauce on top, and sprinkle on the grated cheese. Put the oysters in the oven for 3 minutes on the broil setting. And voilà!
- Choose whichever vegetable you want: shallots, onions, or minced garlic. Each one will give you a slightly different flavor to your baked talaba. Some also like to sprinkle powdered milk on top of the baked talaba. I’ve kept it simple but it’s up to your personal taste.
- Pick big oysters with deeper shells at the local grocery store or local fishmonger. Look for ones that have a caliber of 0-2.
- Clean your oysters properly to remove any dirt or sand. To wash talaba, simply rinse them in cold water. You can also buy pre-shucked oysters instead if you want to save yourself some time. But still, make sure to clean them. And get any pieces of talaba shell in your sauce while cooking.
- Support your oysters with salt to get them to stand up flat in the oven. Simply spread 2.2 pounds of salt on a baking sheet or dish. Then, put the oyster shells on top, and they’ll stand up. Also, coarse salt works well for this.
- Don’t overcook your oysters. Overcooking oysters makes them tough, and they’ll lose their flavor. In addition, they won’t be as healthy.
- Count 3-4 pieces for each person
Baked Talaba Recipe
- Prep Time15 min
- Cook Time45 min
- Total Time1 hour
- Servings2 to 3 servings
- Shuck The Oysters
First, shuck the oysters. Pour out the water into another bowl. Save this water, but be sure to filter out any grit.
Remove the meat from the shells and wash the oysters and shells. Dry the shells and set them aside for later.
- Make the Sabayon
Peel the shallot and mince it finely. Next, melt butter in the saucepan over medium heat.
Then add the shallot and garlic to the melted butter. And cook the shallot and garlic until it’s soft and translucent, but don’t let them turn brown.
Add the cream, ⅓ cup of the wine or champagne, and ½ cup of the filtered water from the oysters.
- Poach the Oysters and Reduce the Sauce
Add your oysters to the liquid and poach them for about 10 minutes. Then remove the oysters.
Continue cooking the sauce on low heat until it reduces by half.
- Add the Egg Yolks
In a separate mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the wine or champagne. Then whisk until it’s frothy and combined.
Place the mixture over your bain-marie or hot water bath. Continue whisking constantly until the egg yolks thicken.
Next, add this to the reduced cream mixture and whisk to combine. Then add the chives and pepper.
Finally, add the rest of the wine or champagne and stir.
- Grill Your Oysters
Preheat your oven to broil. And prepare your baking sheet by pouring the salt on top.
Now, put each oyster back in its shell on the baking tray, and pour a little sauce on top. Then sprinkle each one with grated cheese.
Put the baked talaba oysters under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
If you don’t want to use a broiler, you can just use a handheld torch to brown the tops.
- Serve Hot
Make sure you serve immediately the baked talaba oysters right out of the oven.
What to Serve with this Baked Talaba Recipe
- You can serve baked talaba with bread and butter. Rye bread is especially delicious. In addition, you can easily make flavored butter by mixing dried herbs (such as parsley) or curry powder into softened butter.
- This baked talaba recipe is also delicious with a side of vegetables. For instance, leek fondue or sauteed zucchini would be very nice.
- For a bit of freshness, why not make a big salad to pair with baked talaba? I really like making mine with baby spinach leaves, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, and some homemade crispy croutons.
- If you like alcohol, choose wine or beer. If you want to be traditional, drink champagne or stout. But stay away from hard liquor, since it can make oysters and baked talaba hard to digest.
How to Store Oysters Properly
First, keep your oysters cold. So, make sure to put them in the refrigerator, freezer, or on ice within 2 hours of buying them.
And if it’s above 90 degrees F or they’re sitting in your car on a hot day, get them in the fridge within 1 hour.
If you’ll cook your oysters within 2 days of buying them, they can stay in the refrigerator. But make sure it’s set to 40 degrees F or lower.
And if you’ll wait longer, put them in the freezer. Just wrap them in tin foil, plastic wrap, or paper that won’t absorb moisture.
- 26.8g Fat
- 10.7g Carbs
- 19.5g Protein