It’s amusing to read historical recipes and observe how the perception of foods changes over time. At first, all those stories about delicacies we highly value today being served as dog or prison food in old times seem shocking and funny. On the second thought, it’s logical. It’s in human nature to praise what is not easily available and disregard what is more abundant. Oysters are different. “There were always oysters, and there were those to praise them.” Are oysters to be admired forever?
We went for the SIP N’ SHUCK event with oysters and sparkling wine to Fulton and (unexpectedly!) discovered smoked steak tartar. I wanted to recreate it in my home kitchen with Cameron’s Stovetop Smoker. I didn’t know how the Fulton steak tartare got its smokey flavor, but since it was barely there, I suspected they used a smoking gun and a relatively short period for the smoke to set. My experimental timing with Cameron’s smoker was a bullseye, and I liked my version even better! My beef tenderloin got the right amount of smokiness, and its internal temperature was a bit above the body temperature. Here is the recipe…
Technically, it’s not pizza. It’s an open pie, an American pie with Gulf of Mexico seafood and white sauce. I don’t remember when I enjoyed pizza-like pie so much for the last time! The idea to use Gulf oysters belongs to the Engineer. I added scallops remembering how wonderful they are in seafood version of empanada gallega. It turned out great. We named it The Gulf of M: oyster liquor velute + scallops + gulf oysters + queso asadero + oaxaca string cheese + seaweed. I didn’t pre-cook oysters and scallops when made it for the first time, and it was soft of messy because of extra juices. But sooo gooood!
Today in the U.S., mentioned above milk-caps are either unknown or deemed inedible, while in Easter Europe they are traditionally considered among the best edible mushrooms. After removing the bitterness, they are salted and later enjoyed as a condiment (there is no better companion for a shot of ice-cold vodka!) or as an ingredient in other dishes. Salted mushrooms are fleshy, juicy, and have a unique flavor.
When gruzd or ryzhik mushrooms are not available, my second favorite are P. ostreatus or Oyster mushrooms. Luckily, they are farmed by Kitchen Pride just about two hours away from Austin, in Gonzales, TX.
“The reputation of oysters as an aphrodisiac has been confirmed. They contain zinc and other important trace minerals important for testosterone production.”
— Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François by Jacques E. Haeringer.