On Valentine’s Day oysters often come to mind when thinking of love and romantic dinners. Oysters have been referred to as a food of passion as far back as the 2nd century AD and interestingly enough, even back then, were paired with wine. Oysters are rich in zinc, iron and Vitamin B12. Iron helps to transport oxygen through our system and zinc is an essential element in stimulating the metabolism. So, perhaps their reputation really has a scientific basis. Nevertheless, oysters can make for a romantic dinner that is rich in protein, nutritious and delicious. And they might simply be a lot of fun to shuck and eat together.
The all-time favorite southern oyster variety is the Apalachicola from Apalachicola Bay in the Florida Panhandle. The calm, warm, brackish water of the bay is full of nutrient rich sediment. This creates the perfect environment for oysters to flourish. Malpeque oysters, from Prince Edward Island, are the favorite northern variety. Malpeques have been described as big and bold, yet still light-bodied and clean on the finish. It is fascinating to note that oysters are still carefully harvested by hand from small fishing vessels using fourteen foot, hinged wooden poles.
Oysters can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Below is an intriguing recipe from Chef Jamie Oliver that might be perfect to pair with your favorite wine for your special Valentine’s Day dinner! Fresh Apalachicola and Malpeque oysters are available locally at Atlantic Express Seafood. For more information visit www.atlanticeexpressseafood.com
Cooked oysters with burnt butter
- 8 rock oysters, scrubbed clean
· 800 g rock salt, (if cooking indoors)
For The Burnt Butter
· 40 g unsalted butter
· Tabasco sauce
· ½ a lemon
oysters in the embers of a fire will completely transform these little
beauties, but if you're cooking indoors, you can imitate the results in your
trusty oven. It's not quite the same, but it'll still taste delicious.
If you're cooking outdoors, nestle the oysters in the ash of your fire for around 10 minutes, or until the oysters pop open (some might stay closed, but don't worry, you'll just need to apply a little extra force to get these ones open).
If cooking indoors, preheat the oven to full whack. Place the rock salt into an ovenproof frying pan, then pop in the oven to preheat for around 20 minutes, before carefully placing the oysters on top and returning to the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden colour and starts to sizzle. Add a few drops of Tabasco to taste, then remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice, swirling the pan until combined. Put the pan to one side.
Insert an oyster knife or a blunt knife into the oyster, then carefully lever it open – beware of the hot steam! Discard the oyster tops, then place the bottom shells with the oyster on a platter, drizzle over the burnt butter and serve straightaway.( Jamieoliver.com)