Oysters are a superior food. I feel as though any discussion of a superior lifestyle would be remiss, less we forget the bivalve mollusk family we all know and love: Ostreidae. There are lots of reasons why Oysters can be considered a superior supp. Primarily because oysters create pearls. Pearls make fabulous jewelry. Make the connection. More than just décor for the décolletage, Oysters are full of Vitamin A and Zinc, and they are way low in calories. We’re talking so miniscule that you can individual eat a dozen on your own and still have room for the lobster roll. Plus oysters are considered an aphrodisiac – tres romantic!
Oysters are not for the uninitiated. There are guidelines, suggestions if you will, to properly ordering and enjoying an oyster. I always eat an oyster straight from the shell. I add a wee dram of cocktail sauce (or mignonette sauce) and horseradish to the top and slurp them in my mouth, two bites in the flesh and down the hatch they go. After all, oysters are living creatures; if you are going to eat them, do so with class. I despise seeing people with their itsy bitsy seafood works, stabbing the slippery fellow over and over, to just throw it in their mouth and chomp away. Desgouster!
When you order an oyster, most places will let you mix and match which oysters you choose. I always ask my server for a recommendation on what looks good that day. If you are not an oyster gourmand, and you see your server’s eyes glass over, try a sampling of what’s offered. I am partial to the Prince Edward Island Malpeque oysters (large shells, but sweet, succulent, full-bodied oysters). Fine oysters range from $2 – $2.50 a piece.
I have always been taught (and abided by)the rule that one consumes oysters only in months ending in “R” (September, October, November, December). Cold weather oysters are sweeter than warm-weather harvested oysters. Spring is oyster reproduction time, so that was always a no-no. Modern technology has pretty much taken care of this rule – unless you get your oysters at the 7-11, you can assume your fine dining establishment is not trying to poison you. But I still only enjoy oysters during months that end in “R” because I am a stickler for ridiculous rites of passage when it comes to food.
My favorite rule about oysters is that you never eat raw seafood (okay, so this isn’t oyster specific) without drinking an alcoholic beverage. I never eat anything without drinking an alcoholic beverage, so this is fabulous news. Supposedly, the alcohol would kill off any bacteria that may be present in the oyster. This is not true whatsoever. But a crisp, cold Viognier with ½ dozen Malpeque is just a little slice of heaven.
Bon mots while out enjoying oysters with friends: “Funny you should mention oysters, I’ve just finished Mark Kurlansky’s latest: The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (Ballantine Books).”