Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ready for an Oyster Roast?

September-r-r-, October-r-r, November-r-r … finally the "r" months have arrived.

Ostreaphiles, better known as oyster lovers, know what that means! Whether you procure them yourself or from your local fishmonger, the cooler, crisper weeks of fall are just perfect for roasting oysters. If you've never had the pleasure of cooking a peck or bushel of those succulent bivalves, what are you waiting for?

Here's a handy "how-to" guide and supply checklist for a DIY oyster roast:
  • Choose your spot - Given their potential for being a bit messy, it's best to cook oysters outside. If that's out of the question, inside on the stove, or even in the microwave, is perfectly acceptable. However, a propane cooker equipped with a tri-pod stand, large pot and steamer insert are preferred.
  • How many tables? Because shucking and eating oysters is a vigorous activity, there's no need to provide seating. Several sturdy tables or even sheets of plywood placed on saw horses work well. Many like to spread newspaper or butcher paper for easy cleanup.
  • Condiments - Have plenty of melted butter, sliced lemons, Texas Pete, Tabasco, and Cocktail sauce on hand. Saltine crackers are a must. If you're going for an upscale experience, garlic bread is acceptable. Rolls of paper towels and napkins will also be necessary.
  • Utensils - Shallow bowls make dipping oysters in your chosen accompaniments a snap. For those who'd like to keep things really simple, compostable paper plates and bamboo forks can be found locally at Lovey's. Of course oyster knives are a must. Many guests opt to bring their own, but there should also be enough on hand for everyone.
  • How Many Oysters?  Depending on how many "professional" oyster aficionados will be in attendance, a good rule of thumb is one bushel for every 4 to 5 guests.
  • Cooking the Oysters - Rinse them well-doing this outside with a garden hose is quick and easy. Discard any that are already open! Next, fill the large steamer pot with water that reaches the base of the steamer insert. Add ¼ of a cup of white vinegar. Cover and bring to a rolling boil, then turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. With heavy-gloved hands, carefully stack the oysters inside the steamer basket. Cover and check in 10 minutes-
    • Medium rare oysters will be slightly open, about an eighth on an inch. Well-done oysters will be open a quarter of an inch or more.
    • Carefully transfer the cooked oysters to the table and enjoy! Leftover oysters can be used to make delicious oyster stew, dressing, and a right of passage for some - oyster s'mores!
Enjoy your oysters and your oyster roast!  We are big fans of this seasonal tradition:)

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