Monday, November 8, 2010

Seasonal Seafood: The World is Your Oyster

One of my quick and easy favorites using fresh seafood from the season!  On the left are Sewansecott Oysters and on the right steamed shrimp & ramen noodles.

Along with the falling leaves and nip in the fall air, my mind naturally turns to oysters and shrimp this time of year. They are both indispensable for party trays, recipes and hors dourves. Oyster stuffing is a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving Turkey if you've never tried it.  I simply prepare a simple savory sage stuffing and add lightly steamed oysters before stuffing the bird. Oysters have been a part of Christmas celebrations long before Victorian times.  The ones we eat are salt water Hog Island Bay grown Sewansecotts harvested by H. M. Terry & Co. We have both their super fresh clams and oysters delivered to our door each month they're in season (courtesy of our super generous Joe Y!).
Shrimp can likewise be added to a pot of steamed vegetables and ramen noodles as shown here for an oriental-inspired dish.

Either way, these delicious treats from the sea are loaded with protein, calcium, iodine and other good for you nutrients. Oysters are great and quite accessible this time of year into the New Year while large and jumbo shrimp can be purchased fresh or frozen.

One of our Oyster Buckets filled with fresh, delicious Sewansecotts!

Here's how to get going starting with how to open a live oyster for oysters on the half shell:

I usually start at the back hinge of the oyster using a flat, short oyster knife. You can wear thick cotton work gloves if you are doing a lot for a party or hold your oyster in a towel as shown here.

Insert the oyster knife in as far as possible into the hinge space and rock up and down. It should pop open from that point. I usually give the knife a little twist as well to expand the space.

After opening the oyster from the rear hinge, bring the oyster knife around and free it from the heavy muscle attaching it to the shell.

I usually flip the oyster over so it rests in the larger part of the shell hollow so it can hold the most "liqueur" for serving. You can even put two or three oysters in one large shell.

Some people like their raw oysters straight up but those in the lead photo have been topped with a dash of Mc.ILHenny Co. Tabasco Pepper Sauce. You can also use fresh lemon juice but whatever you do, keep it light so that the delicate flavor of the oyster can shine through. You can get more step by step instructions on how to open and serve an oyster at: Gourmet Food

Oysters Rockefeller, one of my all time favorites!

Shrimp is wonderful as an addition to Spanish Paella or served in a shrimp cocktail. When I attended the Ice Theatre of New York's Benefit Gala, the cocktail reception had waiters serving cold steamed jumbo shrimp. If you want to make your own shrimp cocktails, just purchase a good cocktail sauce that contains horseradish. They are always a major hit! Very easy to prepare, just don't overcook them. Steam just until they are no longer translucent but white and opaque in the center and pink on the outside. If you are using frozen, precooked shrimp, add them at the very end of your cooking process so they will just thaw through and not cook any further.

You can do this! These are two hits that are on the gourmet trays of the most posh holiday parties. Get cracking now and when Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around, you will be SO ready to entertain.

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