Resolute and Ready

Food prep in the kitchen.
Pick a resolution fit for your lifestyle.

My New Year’s resolution last year was, “Never touch something twice when touching it once will do.” As much as 2020 gave me loads of time to get things done, I gained great satisfaction in learning culinary shortcuts and kitchen time savers. I became better at meal planning and super-fast at grocery shopping; I figured out how to maximize freezer storage and realized I could make something out of leftover anything.

This year, I’ll put all that saved time to good use. I’m inspired by one of my favorite quotes, “If you only do what you can, you’ll never be more than you are.” I’ll apply this idea to my work as a writer, teacher and parent. In my role as chef, I’ll challenge myself to learn something new, and difficult. In years past, I conquered Julia Child’s six-page puff pastry recipe, learned to shuck oysters like a boss and discovered the best way to grill a whole fish. I mastered the art and science of mirror glaze and baked Alaska. I made handmade gnocchi, focaccia and chicken stock, all from scratch. And in 2021? Perhaps I’ll finally spatchcock a chicken. I might attempt a soufflé. Maybe I’ll muster the courage to try macarons or marshmallows again. I’ll do something I can’t and become more than I am, because after all, isn’t that what a resolution is all about?

STUFFED OYSTERS

MAKES 18. (SERVING SIZE: 3 / SERVES 6.)

18 oysters, cleaned and shucked, top half discarded

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup herb stuffing mix, slightly crushed

1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 ½ tsp. minced garlic

½ small shallot, minced

- Kowalski’s extra virgin olive oil

- freshly ground Kowalski’s sea salt and black peppercorns, to taste

- lemon wedges and chopped fresh Italian parsley, for serving

Arrange oysters on a rimmed baking sheet. In a large mixing bowl, mix together next 5 ingredients (through shallots); spoon about one Tbsp. butter-crumb mixture on top of each oyster half. Bake in a preheated 500-degree oven until tops are golden-brown and crispy (about 5 minutes). Let cool on pan for two minutes; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over oysters and garnish with parsley; serve immediately.

Chef’s Tip: Before opening oysters, pinch any open ones before cooking. If an open shellfish won't snap shut, it should be discarded. After opening each oyster, be sure not to spill the delicious juice (also called oyster liquor).

Rachael Perron is the culinary & brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.