Wednesday, August 06, 2008

eating raw oysters: a do-it-yourself experience

Things I love about our annual beach vacation:

We found the sweetest little cottage.
It's 500 meters from the beach.
We go at the same time as my husband's other siblings.
When we get together, it's usually over food.
We eat a lot of seafood.
My sisters-in-law appreciate good food as much as I do.
We always have bonfires at night.
Did I mention we spend a lot of time at the beach?

My husband comes from a family of four kids. His parents and sister (I'll call her SIL) still live in the area, but my husband and his two brothers (BIL and the other, older brother I'll call Big BIL) have moved away. Every summer, we all try to get to the same part of the New Brunswick coast at the same time for a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation.

You know you're on vacation when the toughest decisions you have every day are "Should we go to the beach?" and "What should we eat?". Unless it was raining, the answer to the former question for us was "Yes." And the latter? "Seafood."

We treated ourselves and our families to a procession of shrimp, scallops, steak, chicken, (my sicilian) meatballs , salmon, mussels, lobster, crab, scallops and...oysters.

Ours were of the Richibucto, shuck-it-yourself variety. In my opinion, serving oysters as an appetizer makes any dinner, even the most simple one, seem that much fancier.

Big BIL was an oyster virigin who was quickly converted. My own husband became a master at shucking. We bought them by the case ( 30 oysters each) and went through 3 cases in 3 days between 6 adults. Some of the older kids tried them, but for the most part, it was an indulgence for the grownups.

We bought a special oyster-shucking tool (pictured above) , and Youtube provided a great tutorial on the intricacies of shucking oysters properly.

There weren't too many suggestions on the Internet on what to serve with raw oysters. In the end, we settled on three sauces to sprinkle directly on the oyster: lemon juice, and two kinds of hot sauce: Frank's Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce and Frank's RedHot Chili 'n Lime. I think most of us preferred the hot sauces to the lemon juice, and Frank's Original won out over the Chili n' Lime (my personal favorite).

This was just one of the food-related moments that helped define vacation for me this year. I have lots more to share.. so I hope you'll come back.

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