Thursday January 07th 2021, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Food

Nope, no 25th yet.

Milk Pail is on vacation for five weeks, so I decided to try out the fishermen again who’ve teamed up with a few local farmers.

Oysters harvested Wednesday were on their list. I was curious. They were hand-delivered today and I realized I suddenly had to get serious about figuring out what to do with the little ocean geodes.

We hadn’t bought rock salt since making ice cream the hand-crank way when the kids were little and we replaced that with an electric one pretty early on, being, y’know, fast learners and all that.

The rock salt is to smush them into to hold them in place curvy side down so the juices don’t leak out. Oh. Huh. I ended up balancing them on each other just so, sort of like a preschooler experimenting with a tinkertoy set, wondering if I could move them into the oven without–whoops, try again.

On the third wobbly try I had them all on their backs facing upwards and I put a small rack across the top to keep them that way. It sorta/almost worked.

I remembered my mom once tackling a huge bag of mussels big enough to feed our family of eight when I was a kid and her telling me, if one is opened before you cook it you throw it away–that one’s dead and it could give you food poisoning. You check to make sure they’re shut tight.

These all looked shut tight to me.

The internet said in multiple places that you could just roast them in the oven at high heat and then the shells would pop right open.

Good, because we’re right out of oyster knives if I even knew what one looked like.

450F seven minutes and then you can have your still-raw oysters!


Ten minutes. Checked. No popping open. Put it back in for another minute. As if. Then, what the heck, four more.

At that point it smelled wonderful and there were signs of bubbling juices so I figured they were done.

You know how many had cracked open?

One. A second one teased that it might. There were thirteen.

Well huh.

I went looking for a camping knife: I once bought a bunch of random mismatched silverware at Goodwill for not caring if a piece got left behind outside some tent somewhere. Turns out I’d long since let them go back to where they’d come from.

I had one dinner knife–Magnum Lauffer, no less, but still–whose handle had separated slightly from the blade, which I had long rued. It never fell apart but it never felt good in the hand. So that one was the victim, and I went at it.

Most of them actually opened without too much hassle. There were a couple where the oyster was bigger than its outer shell was letting on and they weren’t letting go that easily. I now understand whoever created oyster knives. I don’t *think* the very tip of that rounded blade was broken off before but it is now and I’m just glad no shards, not shell nor metal, hit me in the eye. But they tried. Yay glasses.

So were they way overcooked? I’d say the texture was actually pretty surprisingly perfect. And the flavor was as fresh as I’ve ever had.

Chewy seawater.

I’d order more, but I think next time Costco is going to do the work.¬†Even if those jars won’t give me the shellfish stock that’s in the fridge waiting for tomorrow’s chowder.

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When we moved to Washington I was determined to learn to eat all the ocean bounty. Crab good, lobster good, steamer clams in foil and tossed in the fireplace for a few minutes good, fried clam strips good, oysters never again.

Comment by Sharon Stanger 01.08.21 @ 11:07 am

Lacking rock salt, you can crinkle aluminum foil to smush them down into, but yes. Next time: someone else shucks!

Comment by KC 01.08.21 @ 12:49 pm

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