Gain a pearl of wisdom at Oyster Fest 2012
I have a confession to make. I have never eaten a raw oyster.
I have no excuse; I have even prepared oysters on the half shell for others and watched as the morsels were devoured with relish.
This Saturday I have a perfect opportunity to sample some of the best locally sourced oysters at Oyster Fest 2012. Brought to us by Tobias Hogan and Ethan Powell, owners of EaT: An Oyster Bar and soon-to-open The Parish, Oyster Fest 2012 will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at EaT, located at 3808 N. Williams Ave. in Portland.
Hogan and Powell have invited representatives from Oregon Oyster Farms and Hayes Oyster Farms from the Oregon coast, Hama Hama Oyster Farms from Hood Canal, the Puget Sound's Chelsea Shellfish Farms and Hog Island from San Francisco to share information about oyster farming and secrets of preparing oysters.
Powell explained that the oyster farms in our area grow Olympia, Pacifics and Kumamotos. The Pacific oyster and its smaller sister, the Kumamoto oyster, are originally native to Japan but grow well here in the Pacific Northwest waters. He said that these three oysters are branded by the farms that raise them and each will have a distinctive taste, based on the local conditions.
'We like to call it 'marrior,' like the term terrior (but for marine products),' Powell said. Terrior is a French term used to denote the special characteristics that geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestow upon products such as wine, tea and coffee. The same concept can be applied to oysters, hence the term 'marrior.'
'One of the great things is it shows the difference between growing areas,' Powell said. 'You can compare. The same oyster grown in different water will have a different flavor profile. It's really cool that way.'
When I asked if he had a favorite oyster, Powell explained that he didn't since the taste changes constantly depending on the water chemistry.
'The flavor will change based on the water quality, the amount of algae, the phytoplankton and salinity of the water, how much it has rained,' he said. 'They are all delicious.'
Powell said Oyster Fest came about as a way to educate the public about oysters, the different regions and farms and give the public the chance to meet the farmers.
'They are all dedicated to growing in a sustainable way and keenly interested in preserving the water quality. They are great stewards of the ocean,' he said.
At Oyster Fest you can buy tokens for $1 each and then redeem them for briny beauties and beverages.
Beverages will include beers from Lompoc 5Q, Burnside Brewing and Upright Brewing, spirits from Bull Run Distilling, House Spirits and Badcock Vodka and wines from Argyle, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Roots and C and G Wine Imports.
To learn more about Oyster Fest, visit eatoysterbar.com or call 503-281-1222.
Powell shared EaT's classic Angles on Horseback recipe. I've also included Oregon Oyster Company's recipes for fried oysters and cocktail sauce and a recipe for grilling oysters that is sure to become a summertime favorite.
Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!
Angels on Horseback
8 pieces thin-sliced bacon
8 oysters, preferably Hama Hama Oysters, shucked, bottom shells and oyster liquor reserved
2 cups bechamel sauce (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Par-cook bacon 6 to 8 minutes but not crispy.
After bacon cools, wrap each oyster with one slice of bacon.
Place oyster back in bottom shell, add a little of reserved liquor and 1 tablespoon béchamel
Heat broiler and roast oysters in the oven until béchamel is bubbling and slightly caramelized.
Serve on plate lined with rock salt and lemon wedges
¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup extra sharp cheddar
Fresh ground white pepper
Over medium heat melt butter. When the butter is completely melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Sauté flour for a few minutes stirring constantly, the roux should be white. Stirring constantly, whisk in the milk a little at a time, bring to a simmer allowing the sauce to thicken but do not boil.
Add cheese, nutmeg. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
EaT: An Oyster Bar
Kumamoto Oyster Pan Fry
Serves 5 to 6
1 pint shucked oysters
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup milk
Combine Worcestershire, Tabasco, milk and egg and mix well. Pour oysters into mixture and let sit for 20 minutes. Take oysters from mixture with small strainer and roll in cracker crumbs until well coated. Place oysters in a hot skillet with small amount of oil. Do not crowd pan. Keep turning oysters until plump and golden brown. Do not overcook.
Serve with Pacific Oyster Cocktail Sauce.
Pacific Oyster Cocktail Sauce
½ cup nippy cocktail sauce
1/3 cup catsup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Few drops Tabasco
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
Combine ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill thoroughly before using.
Recipes courtesy of Oregon Oyster Farms, Inc.
Grilled Oysters with Mango Pico de Gallo and Red Chile Horseradish
Makes 4 servings
The oysters will cook in just a few minutes, so get the garnishes ready before you put the shells on the grill. The oysters actually pop when they are cooked and make for a great presentation.
Mango pico de gallo
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and finely diced
½ small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno chile, finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Red chile horseradish
¼ cup prepared horseradish, drained
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
32 oysters in the shell, scrubbed
Preparation for the mango pico de gallo: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
For red chile horseradish: Stir together the ingredients in a small bowl.
For the grilled oysters: Heat grill to high. Place oysters in shells directly on the grates of the grill, close the cover and cook until all the oysters have opened, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard any that do not open.
Top each oyster with 1 teaspoon pico de gallo and ¼ teaspoon red chile horseradish. Serve hot.
Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life