Why Oysters are Good – Any time of year
Originally posted in 406 Woman Magazine
Is it an “r” month?
Jonathan Swift is quoted as having said, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster”, but evidence of oyster consumption goes back into prehistory, evidenced by oyster middens found worldwide. An oyster midden is an area that has layers and layers of oyster shells that were formed over 1,000 years starting as early as 200 BC. Oysters were an important food source in all coastal areas where they could be found, and oyster fisheries were an important industry where they were plentiful. Overfishing and pressure from diseases and pollution have sharply reduced supplies, but they remain a popular treat especially for special occasions.
It was once assumed that oysters were only safe to eat in months with the letter ‘r’ in their English and French names. Having enjoyed fresh oysters in every month of the year, I think its safe to put this myth to rest and eat up!
Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12. Furthermore, oysters are considered most nutritious when eaten raw.
As we’ve all heard, oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac, and research has shown this to be true. When researchers analyzed bivalves, they found oysters were rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.
Here’s my take on oysters….
Oysters are good any time of year.
Wild oysters are of course the best.
Smaller oysters are sweeter and great raw on the half shell.
Larger oysters are great on the barbeque.
Whether from East Coast or West Coast, overnight shipping is available. Ask your local fishmonger.
On raw oysters, I simply enjoy fresh lemon juice and homemade cocktail sauce of ketchup and pure horseradish.
To get your friends to try, create a mignonette sauce to serve with oysters. My special mignonette recipe includes: a favorite champagne, minced scallion, and black pepper.
Oysters are a great end of summer and early fall treat, so let’s talk barbeque!
Open your large oysters and smoke for 10 minutes. Brush with my southern style barbeque sauce (see below) and smoke for 2 more minutes. Serve with lemon on the side.
Here’s the recipe for my barbeque sauce: Mix tomato paste, minced sweet onion, a touch of honey, brown sauce, favorite hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add water to desired consistency then simmer to thicken.
For extra fun, teach your guests to open oysters! Never use an oyster knife unless you want to lose your hand!
A small, sharp paring knife is the best especially if you have tiny hands.
Also make sure you hold the oyster with a towel or rubber mitt.
Make it a fun part of summer and serve an iced beverage or adult iced beverage to complete the experience.
One of my family favorites is a Caesar slushy. It goes well to compliment the oysters and is a great finishing touch to any summer event.