Thursday, December 1, 2011
I don’t want to waste people’s time posting recipes for some creature I didn’t wrangle down myself. Like, I cook a pretty evil chicken cordon bleu...but, it’s not anyhow, anyway, anytime appropriate in a hunting forum. Even if I pursued feral chickens. It’s just not proper camp food. If someone cooked and served chicken cordon bleu in one of my camps, I’d be sleeping in the bunk farthest from. This person would be clearly touched in the noggin with no realization of where he or she is.
Oysters are different. True, I am not an oyster hunter, or farmer, or collector thereof, but I don’t think anyone would rationally fault me for procuring them from the market. And they are excellent camp fare. Some of my best days on God’s Green Earth have come at the expense of a hot campfire, cold beer, and a bushel of fresh oysters.
Which is weird. I loathe most vegetables. I’m allergic to onions, repulsed by tomatoes, and generally dislike most greens. But slimy oysters? Sign me up!
In North Carolina a few weeks back, I indulged in the saltiest bivalves I can recall in some time. They were harvested from the waters north of Wilmington and Wrightsville and tasted like they drank the Gulf Stream dry. This, naturally, got the hankering flowing for more when I returned home. Krunk bought a half-bushel from Publix a couple weekends ago. The lady said they had just come in; otherwise he would not have bothered. Once they get too freshwatery from multiple icings, they lose much of their charisma. I never order them in restaurants for this reason. Bleck. These were good, though – not North Carolina good, but a passable addition to a day of football. Bought more in Homosassa this last weekend that certainly hit the spot. I don’t know if it really matters that you should only eat oysters during months with an “r” in them, but cool weather is definitely more comforting when designing an oyster feast.
I prefer oysters raw out of the shell. But after so many, it’s never a bad thing to dress them up a little. The usual procession routes its way past the straight-from-the-shell routine and on to a few slapped on a saltine and topped with Louisiana hot sauce or horseradish. Then you get the ones that are difficult to shuck – the Tough Mothershuckers. I flip on the ol' gas grill. A couple minutes on there loosens their hinges and steams them in the shell. But if we’re gonna heat them up, let’s just take it a step further.
Now, this isn’t completely original, but I forget where I learned this, so there are no pangs of guilt for plagiarism. However you do it, whether you steam them open or shuck them raw, arrange a couple dozen on the half-shell. Turn your grill to medium-high heat. In a coffee mug, melt in the microwave one stick of salted butter with two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of garlic salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the oysters on the grill and drizzle the butter combo over them, then top with shredded parmesan cheese – get the good stuff, not the generic brand. Cover and cook until the cheese and butter bubble. Some people refer to these as charbroiled. Or a hybrid of this method – when one converses with passionate oyster aficionados, however, you never can be too sure that what you’re doing is kosher. I just think they are delicious.
A bushel of oysters goes a long way. There are a lot of different ways to eat them. Nothing seems to get a group of hungry hunters – at least ones I know - excited more than when someone arrives with a cooler full. Give this recipe a try for a quick change-up.
Unless you are a Chicken Lover.