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Eastern Oysters are at peak quality in January and February. If you are planning an event, add an Oyster Bar. Our chefs will produce a trendy style of oyster toppings and condiments.
Did you know?
More than four thousand years ago the costal Indians of North America ate oysters in great quantities? Unlike the ancient Greeks and Romans, the American Indian preferred his oysters cooked. In fact, the American Indian is credited with the first oyster stew.
In 1859, residents of New York City spent more money on oysters than on butcher’s meat.
A fine purple thread should run around the beard of the oyster, this being looked upon as a sign of superior quality.
Is there anything more American than corn fritters and oysters?
In 1880, Chesapeake Bay was producing fifteen million bushels of oysters each season. That is mid September through March.1
The oyster shell is divided into two halves and for reasons only known to the oyster, its body lies in the left valve. Valves are called the two half shells of the oyster and it is connected with a powerful muscle with opens or closes the shell. That muscle is the challenge when we try to shuck an oyster. They thrive in brackish water, living in bays, coves and estuaries where currents supply food – plankton and tiny larvae that the oyster strains through its gills.
It is amazing to know that one single oyster can pump up to one hundred gallons of water through its valves in a day. To keep a bed of oysters fat and content there must be a great deal of tidal action. Chesapeake, Apalachicola and Tomales Bays are all excellent feeding grounds for a great oyster. 1
Today oyster samplers in restaurants and at parties enjoy great popularity. Chefs have created multiple choices of toppings and flavor enhancers who gain more weight when we marry oysters with wine and champagne. Here are some of our most popular suggestions from the kitchen of the Valley Mansion by Martins:
Degree of Difficulty: 1 + (easy)
Prep Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour, plus freezing time for granite Yield: 10 portions each of ver juice gelee, beet relish, red wine granite
Portion Size: 1 oz. portions each of ver juice gelee, beet relish, red wine granite; 6 oysters per portion (2 each of 3 different kinds)
Source: Chef Raimund Hofmeister CMC, AAC
Oysters on the Half Shell
Ver Juice Gelee
¼ cup grapeseed oil
Red Wine Granite
Add all ingredients for the red wine granite into a saucepan and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. Pour and strain into a pan and freeze. Remove from freezer and whisk until light and fluffy.
Cut the beets and shallots into brunoise (fine dice) and place in a saucepan with the Pinot Noir, rice vinegar, soy sauce and ½ cup of water. Cook beets until all liquids are reduced by 2/3rds. Remove from heat and add oils. Refrigerate. Before service, mix in toasted sesame seeds.
In a pot, combine ver juice, sugar and agar-agar and let sit for 10 minutes, and then bring to a boil. Pour into a dish to about 1/8 inch deep. Refrigerate until set.
Place ice and seaweed on plate; put 2 of the 3 different kinds of oysters on ice. Set granite in one dish, beet relish with sour cream and caviar in another dish, and ver juice gelee in a third.
More Various Toppings:
- Fresh Tomato/Chili Salsa
Cucumber & Dill Relish
- Cocktail Sauce
1. Williams, Lonnie, and Karen Warner. Oysters: A Connoisseur's Guide and Cookbook. 1987. Reprint. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1990. Print.