Mornay Sauce Is The Key To A Delicious Oyster Bake

Baked oysters are a flexible yet fancy appetizer that never fails to impress. The oyster takes on a tender texture while maintaining its classic brininess, while the sauce you choose to top it with adds a velvety decadence. There are several stylistic ways you can take your baked oysters, like Oysters Rockefeller,  which pairs crunchy bread crumbs and earthy spinach for a flavorful topping. But one of the best and cheesiest ways to enjoy baked them is oysters mornay.  

Mornay on its own is a fantastic culinary sauce. Essentially a bechamél sauce using Swiss cheese, like Gruyere or Emmantal, as its flavorful backbone, Mornay sauce has been used to coat such classic dishes as Croque Monsieur and Welsh Rarebit. With oysters mornay, the sauce is the flavorful finish for roasted oysters. Though making your own silky mornay sauce may sound complicated, the recipe is fairly simple and quick to make, offering you a luxurious oyster option with little fuss. So how do you make oysters mornay at home?  

Mornay sauce for the win

Let's start with the sauce. As mentioned before, the base of this delicious mix is a roux, which is essentially flour, butter, and milk or cream cooked into a smooth paste. Once you have this smooth base, you'll incorporate your cheese elements. For cheese options, consider Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Emmental, or a blend of all three. Some recipes also add a bit of parmesan to the mix to up the salt and umami notes. If you're in a pinch, you can use another type of sound, melty cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella, just know it will be a departure from the true mornay formula.

Once you've whipped up your mornay sauce, you have two ways to incorporate them with oysters. If you're lucky enough to be a good oyster shucker, you can bake your oysters on the half shell with a generous dollop of mornay sauce heaped on top. If you're working with shucked oysters from a pint, you can place two or three oysters in individual oven-proof crocks or ramekins and cover them with mornay sauce. However you do it, you'll broil for about 7 to 10 minutes in the oven until the sauce gets bubbly and brown on top. Add a sprinkle of chopped chives or herbs and bask in the cheesy glory that is oysters mornay.