Summer time is officially here in Houston, TX. Now, is when the menus begin to change. Enough spring-time menus that are filled with the safe [air-cooled] hard shelled egg and smoked salmon dip. Let's move it along with the challenge of heat.
Commonly, fine oysters are highly consumable by humans--cooked or raw. They contain a great source of zinc, and are featured as another abundant source of calcium, potassium, iron, selenium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin B-12; as one serving is equal to six medium sized oysters or a 3-ounce can of oysters.
Surprisingly, the oyster is very popular among men alike. According to surveys, the oyster is much appreciated by certain cultures, because of its sexual properties. Consequently, oysters are an aphrodisiac to some, due to its richness in amino acids; which may trigger increased levels of sex hormones…
ALL SEASON OYSTERS
According to sources, oyster season was cut six-weeks short in Galveston (by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, because of the high levels of bacteria in the salty waters. As the oyster is a filter feeder, the habit that it is found in does affect human health by its consumption value. In other words, as to be expected, the accumulation of harmful microorganism is highly possible from polluted waters. This is unfortunate, but as a distinct group of the bivalve mollusk family--living in marine and brackish waters--nice and healthy oysters are still available. In fact, oysters are harvested from the Pacific and Atlantic [Coastal] waters, as well as from China.
Frankly, as an early day norm, oysters were only caught and consumed, during the months that containing the letter 'r' (i.e., September through April, but not May through August); starting in the early fall. However, today is different.
Reputable Oyster/Shellfish Vendors
As a legitimate suggestion, try to buy oysters from a reputable supplier that supplies shipper tags: including information about the name of the product; name of the original shipper; the interstate certificate number (if needed); and the location of the harvesting area. Also, double-check the condition of the shell before choosing to purchase the bunch.
How-to-Check Oyster Shellfish
As many seafood connoisseurs may know, the conditions of the food can affect the overall success of the entree. Oysters--like other type of shellfish--must be alive upon delivery, in most cases. Here are some basic rules of acceptance:
1. If alive, when you tap the clamshell, the open shell will close.
2. If the shell remains open, most likely it is dead--discard it.
3. If the shellfish is slimy; sticky; has a dry texture; the shell is broken; or a strong fishy odor, discard it or do not make the purchase.
4. Oysters must be stored and maintained at 41 degrees Fahrenheit, until ready for consumption; cooking or immediate prepping in a recipe.
Oyster Pie Recipe
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
strip of thinly peeled lemon rind
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 pint freshly shucked oysters
2 cups hot mashed potatoes
3 tbsp finely chopped green scallion (tops_)
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine milk, bay leaf, lemon rind, and celery in a saucepan and scald the milk.
3. Remove from heat; cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
4. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in another saucepan; cook mushrooms, until they are wilted; then, remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon (set aside.
5. Add remaining butter to the pan and melt it; stir in flour and cook--while stirring--for 2 minutes.
6. Strain the milk and add to the pan with the wine.
7. Bring to a boil; stirring and simmering until thickened.
8. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne.
9. Stir in oysters and mushrooms.
10. Pour the oyster mixture into an oval baking dish 12X8 inches.
11. Spread the hot mashed potatoes over the top.
12. Sprinkle scallion [tops] and press them into mashed potato covering; and dot with the remainder of butter.
13. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes; until the top is golden brown (bubbling filling); and serve hot.
In reference to this particular recipe, other seafood variations or combinations can be used in lieu of the oyster. To be consumed with [oyster] stout; pale ale; or Guinness.