Talaba, more commonly referred to as oyster, is a popular Filipino food whose popularity reaches far beyond the borders of the Philippines.
While talaba can be prepared in many different ways, many people seem to prefer the baked talaba – which is also the easiest way to prepare oysters.
Whether you’ve never tried baked talaba before and you’re on a quest for new recipes, or you’re trying to recreate the dish you tried at your favorite Filipino place – you’ll absolutely love this baked talaba recipe.
Without further ado, let’s get into the necessary ingredients and the preparation process.
How to make baked talaba
Talaba, being the star of this recipe, needs to be fresh not only for the dish to turn out good, but also to avoid any adverse effects and health issues.
If you’ve never shopped for fresh oysters before, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for talaba for your baked talaba dish:
- A fresh oyster will be moist, containing a significant amount of liquid inside the shell.
- Fresh oysters will not be open (and if they are sold open, this could affect their quality).
- Keep in mind that stale talaba will have a very off-putting, unpleasant odor, and the texture will be quite dry.
- Stale talaba meat will often have a reddish hue to it.
- 4.5 lbs fresh Talaba (shelled, halved)
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 6-8 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- fresh parsley (chopped)
- lemon wedge
- 2 cups parmesan cheese (or any cheese of your choice)
Before baking your talaba, it is recommended to pour some boiled water over them, which will ensure that they’re properly prepared for baking, and you’ll get a tender, juicy texture on the inside.
The preparation process itself is crucial, as you want to make sure that the oysters are properly cleaned, and there are no broken shell pieces.
What actually makes this recipe stand out is the combination of aromatic oysters and freshly grated cheese, with the addition of highly fragrant garlic.
Preheat your oven to 350°F while you prepare the oysters for baking.
While the oven is preheating, you can also prepare the butter and garlic mixture. Grab a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of butter.
Let the butter melt over medium heat, then add in the minced garlic. Make sure to lower the temperature if you notice that the garlic is starting to burn.
Remove from the heat once the garlic has developed a golden brown hue and it has become soft and fragrant.
Prepare the talaba by carefully washing it in cold water, making sure to take your time and properly clean each and every oyster.
You also want to be careful not to break the shell, and keep an eye out for any broken shell pieces that may be stuck in the talaba meat.
Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Pour a little bit of boiled water into each oyster, then make sure to remove the excess water from the shell.
Top the oysters with freshly grated cheese, then transfer them to a baking tray lined with a baking sheet.
Bake the talaba for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and formed a golden crust on top of the talaba.
Once the oysters are baked, top them with chopped parsley, as well as the other half of the butter and garlic mixture.
You can also drizzle some lemon juice on top for a hint of that refreshing citrusy acidity, or serve with a lemon wedge.
The beauty of cooking is being able to experiment with your favorite ingredients and add your little personal note to each and every dish you prepare in your kitchen.
While baked talaba is a relatively simple dish, you may want to replace certain elements, or simply try using alternatives for an even better result.
Here are our top choices when it comes to substituting ingredients in this baked talaba recipe.
1. Olive oil
In case you’re not a fan of butter, or you’d simply like a “lighter” alternative, you can always use high-quality extra virgin olive oil in place of butter.
However, keep in mind that you will need to adjust the amounts accordingly, as butter is thicker than olive oil.
Many people prefer the savory, aromatic note olive oil adds to dishes, as opposed to the rich, milky flavor of the butter, and it is definitely a great choice if you’re more inclined towards Mediterranean cooking.
2. Garlic powder
If you’re one of those people who can’t handle the intensity of minced garlic, you can always swap it for garlic powder.
It is much easier to determine the necessary amount of garlic powder, and you will still get that unique flavor and aroma without it being too overwhelming.
Keep in mind that, in case you decide to use garlic powder in place of fresh garlic, there is no need to warm it up in the melted butter, but you can simply use it to season the melted butter.
Chervil is a very convenient replacement for parsley, as it offers a very similar flavor profile, but it is much milder than parsley.
It can replace both dried and fresh parsley, and can also be used to garnish your plate, as well as to top the baked talaba for a pop of color.
What to serve with baked talaba
Baked oysters can certainly be enjoyed on their own, and with the addition of garlic and cheese, we’d have to say that they offer a very complex flavor profile and a perfect combination of textures.
However, we’d never miss the opportunity to pair this legendary Filipino recipe with amazing side dishes that could transform it into a real feast.
Cocktail sauce is a safe choice if you’re looking for something acidic and tangy to pair the talaba with. This kind of sauce is commonly served with seafood, as it creates an interesting contrast of flavors.
You can easily make the cocktail sauce at home by combining hot sauce, ketchup, and horseradish, but it is also available pre-made.
Speaking of sauces, soy sauce is one of the top choices, especially when it comes to seafood dishes.
Its umami, savory, slightly sweet flavor complements baked talaba perfectly. You can either drizzle it over the talaba, or serve it as a dipping sauce.
If you’d like to add a deep, toasty, caramelized aroma to your oysters, make sure to go with the dark soy sauce.
If you’re one of those people who can’t imagine a dish without a side salad, a refreshing, rich coleslaw is exactly what you need with your baked oysters.
While this combination may seem a bit unorthodox, it actually creates a perfect balance of flavors.
Baked talaba, especially when topped with cheese, can be quite dominant and “heavy”, which calls for a crunchy, nutritious side salad filled with colorful veggies.
How to reheat baked talaba
First and foremost, make sure that your leftover baked talaba is stored properly and never left at room temperature.
You want to leave this dish out of the fridge just enough for it to cool down completely at room temperature, then you should refrigerate or freeze it.
Many people argue that oysters should not even be reheated in the first place, especially since they can develop a very chewy, rubbery texture.
However, if properly cooked (which is the case with baked talaba) and stored, we believe you can warm them up, but the texture will probably not be the same.
How to reheat baked talaba in the oven
Transfer the leftover baked talaba onto a baking tray lined up with parchment paper while the oven preheats to 350°F.
Sprinkle some water on top of the oysters to prevent them from drying out, then cover the tray with a piece of aluminum foil.
Bake the oysters for 5 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil, add more cheese if necessary, and bake for 2-3 more minutes to get a crispy top layer.
How to reheat baked talaba in an air fryer
Preheat your air fryer (if your model requires preheating) to 450°F. Using a paper towel, pat the oysters dry to remove any excess water.
Sprinkle some oil on top of the oysters before air frying them for 5 minutes, or until you’re satisfied with the outcome.
You can always add more grated cheese on top and place the oysters back into the air fryer to develop a golden cheesy layer. However, avoid air frying them for too long as they will become rubbery.
How to store baked talaba
As we’ve mentioned, it is never a good idea to leave your baked talaba at room temperature. The moment the dish cools down to room temperature, it is ready to be properly stored.
Store in the fridge
Place the baked talaba in an airtight container, making sure it is properly sealed. Place the container in the fridge and make sure to use up the oysters within 3 days.
However, if you notice that the oysters have developed a weird color or odor, you should not consume them.
Store in the freezer
You can freeze your baked talaba in an airtight container, or a properly sealed freezer bag.
However, make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of headspace before sealing the oysters. Baked talaba can last up to 3 months stored this way.
Baked Talaba Recipe
- 1 pot
- 1 saucepan
- 1 baking tray
- 4.5 lbs fresh talaba shelled, halved
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- TT fresh parsley chopped
- TT lemon wedge
- 2 cups parmesan cheese (or any cheese)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F while you prepare the oysters for baking.
- While the oven is preheating, you can also prepare the butter and garlic mixture. Grab a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of butter.Let the butter melt over medium heat, then add in the minced garlic. Make sure to lower the temperature if you notice that the garlic is starting to burn.Remove from the heat once the garlic has developed a golden brown hue and it has become soft and fragrant.
- Prepare the talaba by carefully washing it in cold water, making sure to take your time and properly clean each and every oyster.You also want to be careful not to break the shell, and keep an eye out for any broken shell pieces that may be stuck in the talaba meat.
- Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Pour a little bit of boiled water into each oyster, then make sure to remove the excess water from the shell.
- Pour melted butter and half of the butter and garlic mixture over each talaba, then season with ground pepper (and any other seasoning or herbs you prefer).Top the oysters with freshly grated cheese, then transfer them to a baking tray lined with a baking sheet.Bake the talaba for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and formed a golden crust on top of the talaba.
- Once the oysters are baked, top them with chopped parsley, as well as the other half of the butter and garlic mixture.You can also drizzle some lemon juice on top for a hint of that refreshing citrusy acidity, or serve with a lemon wedge.