Friday, November 20, 2009

In Season: Oysters

Wow, it's hard to photograph those babies to make them look appealing! There's oyster fever in Tofino this weekend because it's time for the annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival. There are many activities to take part in if you happen to be in town. Tonight, of course, there is The Mermaid's Ball. Now where are those fins and pearls when you need them?

There's lots of great browsing on the Oyster Festival site, including info on just how good oysters are for you — if you can manage to get them down that is. I have grown to love oysters, but I eat them on my own terms. I love Oyster Bisque or the FH's method of baking the oysters on the half shell and topping them with with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of grated cheese. Mike Mullin's Oysters La Pincoya (scroll down the page a bit) is also fabulous and Mike says it's the best recipe to use when introducing kids to oysters. Sadly, it still hasn't worked its magic in my home. (By the way, thanks, Mike, for these oysters!)

Today, though, I think I might just try Oyster Jim Martin's recipe for West Coast Tacos. This is from the cookbook, Vittles and Vignettes: Recipes and Reminiscences of Old-time Ucluelet, which is worth the purchase just for the historical photos and small history notes. It's available from The Crow's Nest and other shops in Ukee.

Oyster Jim's West Coast Tacos

Steam oysters in shell for 10 minutes (or for 8 minutes out of shell). Pop open and grate any soft yellow cheese, like Monterey Jack, over oysters. Broil until cheese melts. Top with salsa. Garnish with tortilla chips. (I suspect wedged inside a taco shell will work well, too.)

One of the events that doesn't involve eating, drinking or dancing, is a tour to some oyster farms via Remote Passages. A great way to get out an experience Clayoquot Sound.

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