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New! A type of oysters on the half shell

 

oysters on the half shell, frozen oysters, gulf coast oysters, cocktail sauce

Much like wine, the flavor of oysters changes based on weather, region and method of cultivation. We’re lovers of oysters on the half shell. Not quite oysterholics, but we’re pretty close when we get cravings. The “official” term for an oyster lover is ostreaphile. We’ve tried raw oysters from all corners of North America. One of our favorite things to do when we crave oysters is go to an oyster bar and get large samplers to try them all. Then pick a half-dozen of several that we like the best. It’s one of our most fun nights when we get to do that. No question the best experience we’ve found in Denver for this is McCormick’s (some cities they are McCormick and Schmicks). They change their menu twice a day because they fly their oysters and seafood in twice a day. They have the best selection of oysters I’ve seen, and from all over N. America. Their descriptions are detailed and they tell you where exactly each variety is from.

Here’s how we like our oysters: We make our own cocktail sauce with catsup and extra hot horseradish. First, we dribble a few drops of regular Tabasco on the oysters. Then we squeeze a little juice from a fresh lemon wedge, directly from our Meyers lemon bush (yes, we are able to grow lemons here in Denver, and limes and blood oranges). Then we take our tiny oyster fork, fill it with cocktail sauce, grab the oyster out of the shell and eat it. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So, we were at Costco the other day, and to our surprise, they had frozen Handy’s oysters on the half shell. Two dozen for 18 bucks, and cryogenically frozen. That means fast to lock in the flavor. We said to each other, “fresh is best” but why not try them. So we did (see picture above). These are Gulf of Mexico oysters, from Metarie, LA if I recall. I don’t know how long Costco will carry them, but if we don’t feel like messing with a restaurant and want a great deal, we’ll buy them again, soon. They were very, very good, light/med brine, a slight mushroom finish, but mild and average size. We could not tell any affect of being frozen which surprised us. You can’t get them at the Handy’s website unless you’re a restaurant.

When we lived in Dallas, it was always the Fish Mongers in Plano, TX. They only carried Gulf Coast Mississippi oysters, but man, they were delish – jus the right brininess, and mushroomy finish. We’d either eat them there with a Corona/Lime/Salt or three, and have some seafood soup or steamed mussels with garlic butter sauce. Or we’d take the same thing home, depending on what we felt like doing.

Some have a melon flavor, such as those from the northern west coast, like Oregon and Washington. The waterways here where the oysters grow carry the fruity and sometimes pungent melon with varying level of cucumber, and the oysters pick up the flavor.

Gulf of Mexico, also known as Apalachicola Bay, produces 70 percent of the country’s oysters. The Apalachicola Bay oysters have a soft, mild and slightly briny taste. Oysters from Charleston, SC have a slightly sweeter flavor because of the currents “thrusting towards South Carolina from the gulf stream.

There’s a popular iPhone app called Oysterpedia. It features 200 oyster types. It doesn’t give a lot of detail, though, but lets you enter your own info as you try the various types.

Another one is called Oysterguru. It’s got 350 types, and you can search by region or salinity. Click here for a review. I did not find any for Android.

If you are interested in more information, I also suggest getting this book.

Here’s some more sites tuned to oystermaniacs like us:

http://www.oystergeek.com/

http://www.chefs-resources.com/Oysters

This is a fun one – see what kind of oyster eater you are  http://www.oysterguide.com/book/what-kind-of-oyster-eater-are-you/