02 September 2005

Yummy oysters

I suddenly had a craving for oysters.

It must be due to the seafood diet I've been having lately. Fish, mussels in soup, squid, baked tahong. But when was the last time I had oysters? 4,5 years ago.

My first taste of oysters was when I was a kid. My father's friends from Dagupan would go to our home in Baguio and bring a basketful of oysters. They would pour hot water over these in a basin, look for telltale holes in the seemingly solid piles of rock, and deftly open it with a knife to reveal the fresh, tasty morsel within. Yummy.

My younger brother loved to hang out with my father and his friends. Pretty soon, he also became adept at opening oysters. I satisfied myself with bugging our Tatay for some. He would give us a couple, and then refuse us some more, saying our stomach couldn't handle more.

The last time I had oysters was the baked variety at Via Mare's. Loads of melted cheese on it, the oysters sitting on a bed of rock salt. It was simply delicious.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on oysters:
Oysters can be eaten raw, or smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, or broiled (grilled). Preparation can be as simple as opening the shell, while cooking can be as spare as adding butter and/or salt, or can be very elaborate.

Like all shellfish, oysters have an extremely short shelf-life, and should be fresh when consumed. Precautions should be respected when eating them (see below). Purists insist on eating oysters raw, with no dressing save perhaps lemon juice or vinegar. Raw oysters are regarded like wines in that they have complex flavors that vary greatly among varieties and regions: some taste sweet, others salty or with a mineral flavor, or even like melon. The texture is soft and fleshy, but crisp to the tooth.

Oysters are generally an expensive food in places where they aren't harvested, and often they are eaten only on special occasions, such as Christmas. Whether oysters are predominantly eaten raw or cooked is a matter of cultural preference. In the United States today, oysters are usually cooked before consumption; canned smoked oysters are widely available as preserves with a long shelf life. Raw oysters were, however, once a staple food along the East Coast of the US, and are still easily found in states bordering the ocean. Oysters are nearly always eaten raw in France.

Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption. There is a simple criterion: oysters must be tightly closed; oysters that are already open are dead and must be discarded. To confirm an open oyster is dead, tap the shell. Alive oyster will close and is safe to eat. Opening oysters requires skill, for live oysters, outside of the water, shut themselves tightly with a powerful muscle. The generally used method for opening oysters is to use a special knife (called a shucking knife), with a short and thick blade, inserting the blade (with some moderate force and vibration if necessary) at the hinge in the rear of the shell, and sliding it upward to cut the adductor muscle (which holds the shell closed). Inexperienced cooks can easily slip and injure themselves; this is said to be a significant cause of domestic accidents in the Christmas season in France.

An alternative to opening raw oysters before consumption is to cook them in the shell – the heat kills the oysters and they open by themselves. Cooked oysters are savory and slightly sweet-tasting, and the varieties are mostly equivalent.

A piece of folk wisdom concerning oysters is that they are only safe to eat in months containing the letter 'r.' This is because oysters spawn in the warmer months, from roughly May to August. They are safe to eat at all times of the year, although their flavor when eaten raw can be somewhat watery and bland during spawning season. Oysters from the Gulf of Mexico spawn throughout the year, and are generally best cooked.


So, anybody out there who wants to invite me to dine on oysters? :-)

21 comments:

  1. yum yum! i prefer fresh then squeezed with lemon and hot sauce. Best with beer!

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  2. how i wish i can have those! stupid allergies! bad trip dude!

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  3. talaba!!

    it's been a decade i haven't tasted these type of seafood. i'll include that in my list when i get back home, thanks!

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  4. raw oysters, vinegar, onions and ginger. best taken by the beach. :)

    watson, bring your wife to chateau verde in up on a sunday. they have a buffet which includes baked oysters and steak and lamb. less than 300 pesos. :) nice way to spend the day.

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  5. wow baked tahong... masarap ba yun? mahilig ako sa tahong pero hindi pa ko nakakatikim ng baked tahong.

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  6. hmm..nakakagutom naman!! =)

    ei! if ever you get the chance to visit Sing, you might wanna try what they call the "oyster cake" aka oyster omelette. satisfying!

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  7. Uy korek ka dyan Tanggers!

    Oo nga Chu. Too bad dude ...

    Jeff! Yayain mo ko ha!

    Uy Jessie saan yung Chateau Verde?

    Darkblak, prepared rin sya like baked oysters pero mas masarap yung oyster version.

    Hello En! Sige I'll look it up when I get the chance to visit Sing.

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  8. Hmm..never really developed the taste for oysters although I do love baked and grilled tahong. Tulya pwede rin.

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  9. I am surprised that nobody mentioned that it is an aphrodisiac and very good for your libido ! :-)

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  10. on my most recent trip to sydney last feb, my host took me to the Fish market, and while we were shopping (shopping talaga 'no), he asked me how many pieces of them could i take. i said 2 dozens, tinotoo nya! i was one happy bastard after that! yum yum!

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  11. Hi Patrice. Yup, I love tulya also. Lalo na yung sabaw na may luya!

    Hello Sydney! Yeah, strange how that didn't come up in Wikipedia, though I failed to mention it here as well. Care to add that in Wikipedia? :-)

    Hello Owen! Oyster heaven ka!

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  12. yum. sarap nga ng oyster selection sa via mare! buti na lang nanlibre ung officemates ko nun otherwise I couldn't afford it.

    tell me din where the chateau verde place is. sounds scrumptious.

    anyway, may resto near the office. 90 pesos per platter fresh oysters. 110 or 120 for grilled ones with garlic and cheese.

    you can also get the oyster cake at mann hann. sarap.

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  13. uyyy talaga Cherry! Kelan mo ko treat?

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  14. umm suka with garlic kaya lang kawawa na naman ako dahil sa gout, enjoy mo na lang, nakikidaan lang

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  15. nick,
    kilala ba kita? mwehehee

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  16. Hello Rey! I didn't realize oysters can affect gout. Thanks for dropping by!

    Text kita Cherry para maalala mo ako. now na. hehehe

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  17. chateau verde is this place sa may likod ng shopping center sa UP diliman. near PNB. sunday buffet yun, although sabi nung friend ko may saturday daw. di ko sure.

    sarap dun. :) when in doubt kung pano magpunta dun, tanong niyo lang sa mga UP ikot jeeps. :D

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  18. Hi Jessie! Bihira ako pumunta sa area na yun pero for the sake of oysters, maghahanap ako ng venue. Thanks!

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  19. Oysters! I like them with drops of citroen juice and tobasco then topped with fried onion :-)

    I'd love to invite you and your wife for oysters, tara! ^_^

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  20. Seryoso ka ba sa offer mo, Thess? Sige, I will take you up on your offer :-). Thanks for dropping by!

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  21. sige lang but eating too much seafood leads to hypertension, gout (athritis), high levels of uric acid... but then again as woflgank puck always said "LIVE, LOVE AND EAT!!!"

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