by Maria Russo in Events, February 27th, 2016
by Alex Guarnaschelli in Food Network Chef, June 14th, 2011
Salmon, shrimp, tilapia, clams — they’re all good seafood options, of course. But for many, the pearl of the edible underwater world is the oyster. For seafood novices and connoisseurs alike, however, oysters can be a bit of a mystery. To get to the meat of the oyster you must unlock the hard shell (easier said than done), which not only holds the tender, cool bivalves inside but also the saltwater-like juices, aka the liquor of the oyster.
Friday night, FN Dish was on hand at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival‘s Oyster Bash at Lure Fishbar right in South Beach. This sold-out soiree put one particular oyster in the spotlight: Island Creek Oysters, which hail from just up the Eastern seaboard in Duxbury, Mass. On their own these briny beauties boasted a clean, crisp, slightly salty taste, and they were being shucked on-site as quickly as festivalgoers could throw them back. Area chefs were on hand as well to dress them up, and what resulted were half-shells filled with flavors like smoky chorizo, rich lemon butter and bright saffron.
We caught up with a host of the event and the executive chef of Lure Fishbar, Josh Capon, for an oyster primer. Read on below for an introduction to these slurpworthy treats.
Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.
I always think an oyster is completely submerged in water all of the time. On a recent boat ride through a little inlet outside Charleston, S.C. I learned that isn’t always true. As the boat ripped through the water, I noticed some unusual-looking plants adorning the shoreline. When the boat slowed, I got a closer look at these “plants.” They were actually oysters, one growing virtually on top of the other, like a 50-car pileup on the freeway. They were rooted in the sand, but due to the low tide, some were submerged and others not.
The skipper of our boat, Joe, a South Carolina native, saw me staring and pulled the boat over to the edge of a small beach area. “Put those boots on,” he instructed with a knowing grin. He handed me a pair of electric-green boots and I pulled them on slowly as he passed me an oyster knife. We crouched over the oysters and gently pulled a few loose. They were covered in grit, but they were still beautiful. I pried the top shell open and tasted the oyster (and its ridiculously fresh liquid) as if it were my first. It was so cold! Joe grinned, “Pretty good, eh?”
Better than you could ever imagine.
Read Alex’s tips for oysters and get her recipe after the jump »