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Cuisine

Deter shellfish-loving vampires, with this dish

10/11/12 | By Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

King Ken recently reproached me at the hardware store for not writing enough about German food. I immediately started thinking about German food and then thought to myself, “Ken, I’m not going to do it.”

True, he remains the unchallenged champion of the fruitcake championship, but today is not a good day for me to write about Wiener schnitzel (written about it), sauerbraten (written about it), German soft pretzels (written about it) or bratwurst. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I have written about brats in more than 400 articles. How did that happen?

I cannot worry about that today. I am focused (inner-chortle) on being well-planted into the months that end in an “r.”

We have all heard the saying that you should only eat oysters in months that own an “r,” but let me ask you one question: did you by any chance notice any oysters on the menu around town this summer? I bet you did.

As it is difficult to pronounce Mayr, Juner, Julyr and Augustr, we need to set them aside and clarify the months in which we are supposed to eat the bivalve beauties.

That would be the remaining months of the year.

For years it was thought that it was to avoid things such as red tide, which while not guaranteed in the hot months, might be exacerbated by the heat. In reality though, the mighty oyster is spawning in the summertime, and as such, all of its energy is focused on the reproductive process.

The resulting oysters tend to be mushier and less savory than at other times of the year. That’s all. There’s no greatly increased threat of toxins. If there were an increased threat to the tune of an endangered public, you could rest assured the FDA would forbid them from being sold.

So that brings me to today’s lesson: the great and ubiquitous roasted oyster.

Now, I am here to neither acknowledge that I know how the watermen roast their oysters nor to reveal their secrets, if I even knew. That is not my place upon this earth as a mere Nap Town boy who moved to the Shore later in life.

No, I am just going to share a simple way to roast some oysters, making them a splendid addition to your chilly night barbecues. It is that time of year, after all.

I guess now that this is done, I need to focus on the real reason that October exists in the first place: beer.

And now that I think about it, Ken, next week would be well served by me writing about some German food paired with a lovely bier Deutsche. You win; I will write about Germany at least one more time.

Correction to earlier article — I realized after looking at my mother’s flattering, albeit obsessive, collection of my articles that I had omitted a rather important fact. As I give credit where credit is due, I realize that I had forgone credit to Mitch Cook, a student at the college and sous chef at Fager’s Island for the yucca balls with cilantro aioli.

Roasted Oysters

serves 4

24 Chincoteague oysters

roasted garlic and oil (recipe follows)

fresh thyme, as needed

1 lemon, zested and quartered

splash dry white wine

3 Tbsp. EV Olive Oil

• Look for my oyster-shucking video online. It’s not there yet, but it may be some day. The important thing is this: don’t hold the oyster in a stalwart fashion and wrench the beast open with your wrist. Simply turn one wrist one way while twisting the other in the other direction, and you will be amazed at how much easier shucking oysters will be

• Assuming you haven’t found my shucking video (since it’s not online yet), just shuck the oysters, reserving as much of the oyster liquor as possible

• Make sure that the shell bits and other debris are removed from each oyster

• Slather the oyster with the rest of the ingredients and place on a smoking-hot grill (a wood grill is better. If you don’t have one, throw a chunk of wood to smolder)

• Cook just until the liquor starts to sizzle. The carryover cooking time will take care of the rest

• These don’t need to be served with a sauce since the sauce is in the shell. However, should you have a stark desire to slather some extra flavor on top of the, make some kind of beurre blanc and have a blast

Roasted Garlic (v 1.0)

makes enough to last a while

5 heads fresh garlic

• Wrap garlic in foil and place in a 350-degree oven

• Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the garlic is very tender

• Squeeze the garlic from the garlic “paper” and use as needed

Roasted Garlic (v 1.1)

makes enough to last a while

5 heads fresh garlic

1 c. Olive oil

• Place the garlic and the oil in a pan on top of the stove on medium heat

• When the garlic hits what looks like a low boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the garlic is soft.

• At this point, not only is the garlic delicious (in fact, it eats like candy), the oil is fantastic to use as well.

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