Around the Island

Play With Your Food: Aw, shucks, it’s oyster season

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Season of the oyster
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Season of the oyster

Oysters, oysters and more oysters! Seems like everywhere you go and nearly in every publication, there’s an increasing interest in these delectable bivalves. Many people are cultivating them and there are now dozens of different varieties on local and metro area menus. Seeding programs, such as the Billion Oyster Project in New York, abound, with an eye to improving the overall quality of our local waters while providing the ingredients for excellent dishes everywhere.  

In addition, there is an increased focus on the rich history of the oyster industry. I’ve written before about the definitive volume on the subject, “The Big Oyster” by Mark Kurlansky, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the role oysters have played in the gastronomic and economic history of our area.

If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t forget about the Shelter Island Historical Society’s 4th annual Oyster Event, at the Havens House Barn on Saturday, October 15, featuring displays, live music and of course — oysters!

The lucky winner of two tickets to that event is Towny Montant, who in response to an invitation in this space last month, submitted the following winning Oyster Stew recipe.  Congratulations Towny, we’ll see you at the Oyster Event next week!

Classic Oyster Stew (submitted by Towny Montant)

(for one portion) 

1 tsp clarified butter
1 heaping 1/2 tsp diced celery
1 heaping 1/2 tsp diced onion
1/8 tsp celery salt
3 drops Tabasco
1/4 tsp Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce
3 turns freshly ground pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh oysters
1/4 cup clam juice
1/2 tsp cream sherry
1/4 cup half-and-half
Paprika for garnish
Combine first 3 ingredients in the top of a double boiler (or medium sauce pan over low to medium heat) sauté
for a minute or two. Add the next 6 ingredients in order, heat through, but do not overheat or boil, add sherry
then half-and-half. Heat, but do not simmer or boil.
Serve immediately in a soup crock or bowl top with a dash of paprika