Those fresh, briny molluscs, eaten raw in oyster bars and fine restaurants, are not my favourite. While I have sampled a few, I don't understand the fascination with consuming live food. It's all about the taste of the ocean, according to oyster aficionados, who also relish the liquor of briny water which bathes the flesh on the half shell sitting on ice.
Should one chew this morsel? First timers often are encouraged to let the oyster and liquor slide down their throats. Long time oyster consumers usually chew them. I was a slider. Ocean taste? I couldn't get past the idea of raw, living flesh and the texture as it slid over my tongue. I was not familiar with them from my youth in Newfoundland though other Newfoundlanders are. Here in Prince Edward Island, people know oysters and consume them raw, by the dozens, as the beaches can testify.
Cooked oysters are more to my liking.
However, on the last morning of summer this year, we saw oyster fishers busy in Foxley Bay,
using their oyster tongs to rake the molluscs from the bottom of the bay. They don't get any fresher than this!
On deck, the fishers separated the tongs releasing the oysters, measured the shells and returned the undersize oysters back to the bay. Those large enough went to market.
That day was sunny and warm, with the slightest breeze. Fishers so close to land were an unusual sight as they raked the oysters off the floor of the bay. People stopped to watch and photograph the unusual scene which denoted island history and tradition, low tech, in a modern world.
Where is that recipe for Oysters Rockefeller?