Oyster Time

Island Epicure


Oysters have never been better than they are right now. Their fattening time begins in October as the weather cools off.  They go right on improving and being well worth eating until early spring.

After April they slim down, but are still edible and yield Omega 3 fat, iron, copper, and zinc.  I recommend you get yourself a copy of Sharon Montoya-Welsh’s book Oyster Cookery, first published in 1984, and recently updated and republished,  for inspiration.
Many people enjoy oysters raw. Sharon reports that Casinova believed  raw oysters gave him the stamina to satisfy his many lovers. He’s said to have eaten 50 a day. Whether or not oysters are aphrodisiac, their copious amount of zinc does help us stave off  the colds and respiratory illnesses  of winter. Six medium size oysters yield 76.4 milligrams of zinc. No other seafood comes close. Lobsters come closest with 2.57 mg per 3-ounce serving.
Among other meats, a 4-ounce serving of rib roast would give you 4 mg zinc. An average chicken leg yields just under 3 mg. Other cuts of chicken yield half that much, or less.  Among beef cuts, rib roast has the most zinc, but under 1 mg per ounce of meat.  RDA for zinc is 15 mg for men. 12 mg for women, 10 mg for children up to 10 years old, 5 mg for infants, so nursing mothers  would need 17 mg of zinc daily because they eat for both themselves and their babies.

I don’t see how anybody can  ingest the RDA of zinc day after day  unless they  (a) take a multivitamin containing 10 to 15 mg of zinc according to age or (b) eat oysters once every 5 days!

Here’s Sharon Montoya-Welsh’s recipe for making oysters edible though never exposed to heat.

Serves 1
6 small oysters, shucked (one 10-oz jar from supermarket for ready-shucked oysters)
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
Pinch of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Fresh parsley sprigs, to serve

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the oysters with sherry, salt, and cayenne. Gently mix.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley. Have oyster forks or toothpicks handy.

Personally, I like oysters best when briefly cooked to rid them of sliminess. Or small oysters in spiced tomato sauce. I call that Oysters Marinara.
My favorite way to enjoy a 10-oz jar of oysters is stewed in milk, salt and black pepper to taste,  spiced with a couple of drops of Tabasco, and sprinkled with paprika and minced fresh parsley. This makes two servings. When the oysters are large, I cut them into bite-size pieces.  Mrs. Montoya-Welsh has a similar recipe but hers is spiced with Worcestershire sauce  and cayenne and thickened with a roux of I tablespoon of flour combined with 1 Tablespoon of butter.

Oyster stews may be accompanied by tiny oyster crackers or ordinary soda crackers or rice crackers.