Baked Oysters with Mushrooms, Garlic Bread Crumbs, and Romano Cheese

3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups sliced crimini or white mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon salt, in all
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
24 freshly shucked oysters, on the half shell

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Sauté the mushrooms: Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms become soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate the mushrooms until thoroughly chilled. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside. Dry roast the anise seeds: Cook the anise seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat just until they start to turn color and release their aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Crush the anise seeds with a rolling pin and set aside. In a mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic,shallots, chopped mushrooms, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, anise, and the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil. Blend well using your hands. Top each oyster on the half shell with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bread crumb mixture. Bake oysters until piping hot, 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Portabella Mushrooms

Meaty-tasting and firm, portabellas stand on their own as the main ingredient in sandwiches, appetizers, entrees or sides.