Oysters are a good source of zinc, a mineral identified with healthy immune systems. A serving of this tasty appetizer offers all the zinc you need in a day, about 13 milligrams.
1 (1 1/2-ounce) slice white bread
2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped fennel
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons anise liqueur (such as ouzo)
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dash of ground red pepper
12 shucked oysters
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 7 times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until toasted. Transfer to a plate; cool.
Position oven rack to the top one-third of the oven. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and salt; cover and cook 5 minutes or until fennel is tender. Uncover and cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in liqueur; cook 1 minute or until liqueur evaporates. Transfer fennel mixture to a bowl; add breadcrumbs, cheese, fennel fronds, rind, juice, and red pepper. Toss to combine.
Arrange oysters in a single layer on a large baking pan. Top each oyster with about 1 tablespoon fennel mixture. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until the edges of the oysters begin to curl and the stuffing is lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Wine note: Contrast the rich texture of these oysters with a cold, crisp chablis. A classic partner for oysters, chablis brings out the mineral quality of these prized shellfish while its palate-cleansing acidity nicely slices the butter- and cheese-laced stuffing. William Fevre Chablis Champs Royaux 2007 ($24) is a good entry-level chablis, with its orchard fruit and floral aromas, lively citrus flavor, and steely finish. —Jeffery Lindenmuth