Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oyster Feast

Tender, succulent oysters from Smith Point, Texas. I miss them when we are in Mexico. Oysters from along the gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana are special. This is the "season" for them. When I went to Fiesta Grocery store on Tuesday, I couldn't resist buying a 1/2 gallon. I thought it might have been too many but as it turned out, a little more than 24 hours later and they are gone.

Raw, they are briny and hold their own with a sauce heavy with horseradish, catsup and worchester and a bit of lemon. I pulled some of the small ones from the container and while I cooked and we ate them raw. But the main course was fried oysters.

I had never eaten an oyster until I met Ned. His mother served them to me fried. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I season them with salt, black pepper and a good sprinkling of cayenne pepper, toss in cornmeal and fry. Some friends say I make the best fried oysters in the whole wide world. Of course, they may have said that because I told them that I make the best fried oysters in the whole wide world. Nevertheless, it has always been easy to gather a crowd at our house for an oyster fry and it is never difficult to put away a gallon of oysters.

So Tuesday night we had raw oysters for appetizers and fried oysters for dinner. Then I had the leftover cold fried oysters for lunch on Wednesday. Ned's mother also introduced me to oyster stew. Wednesday night I made oyster stew with the remaining oysters and the oyster liquid. I'm not sure exactly how she made it but over the years I've kind of made up my own recipe.

One large onion minced fine
1/2 a white potato minced
1 large carrot minced fine
3 garlic cloves minced
cooking oil
about 1/4 cup flour
1 pint oysters and their liquid. If there isn't much liquid you might want to add some bottled clam juice.
1 1/2 cans evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Cook the vegetables in a bit of oil until they start to turn golden, then add flour and butter. Stir to make a light roux.

Add the liquid from the oysters and cook adding the evaporated milk gradually to keep the roux smooth. I wish I knew how much whole milk I added or how much liquid from the oysters I had but I don't. It is one of those cooking intuition things!

Just before serving add the oysters and cook for a minute or two until the edges are ruffled. Adjust the seasonings. We like our oyster stew with a real kick from the cayenne. Serve with a garnish of chopped chives.

Okay, I think my oyster craving is satisfied for a while..........but I may have to have them again before we head back to San Miguel de Allende. After all when we come back in June oysters will be out of season. You can't eat oysters in a month that doesn't have an R in it. That is the RULE.


Anonymous said...

Billie - Now that your craving has been satisfied - mine has just begun. Yikes!

Brenda said...

Love the fried oysters! We usually buy some at Christmas for a treat, they are not usual fare in landlocked Alberta! I dredge them in flour and then cracker crumbs and fry them (of course in REAL butter- not margarine or oil). Fantastic; although very rich, I can only manage about 5 of them at a sitting.