A confession: my favorite Friday Fish is oyster breakfast courtesy of Rudy at the Monterey Peninsula College Farmers Market. Just a few of these delightfully briny, creamy mollusks, slurped quickly, is a great way to start my shopping. Rudy’s shellfish are so fresh, I often skip the all the hot sauces, mignonettes–French and Asian, horseradish cocktail sauce, or even a squeeze of lime.
But this seafood snack doesn’t really do the trick for anyone else in my house on a Friday evening.
So how nice that this week’s Real Good Fish share is sixteen live Miyagi Oysters from Pt. Reyes Oyster Company. Of course, Don and I will eat most of them raw, but steaming several, then dressing with grated ginger in ponzu and green onion sounds like a nice variation. And I’ve never steamed oysters before. It’s good to try something new...
I bought this oyster holder and knife a couple of years ago. Shucking is a messy, slightly dangerous experience for me, as we don’t eat oysters often enough for me to get good at opening them. But I ended up with only one minor cut from the sharp edge of a shell.
Before the shucking, I prepare two sauces: mignonette, a shallot and wine vinegar mix for our raw on the half shell, and ginger in ponzu for our steamed. Ponzu is a citrusy vinegar soy sauce-like dressing available in most Asian grocery stores.
1 T minced shallot
3 T white wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Stir all together, and set aside.
Note: There are many recipes online, and I happened to do a quick search just now. My mignonette was created from shallots, champagne wine vinegar (what I happened to have available) and sea salt. Only when slurping, did I realize how sharp the sauce tasted. Sugar would have mellowed the vinegar bite. Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the oysters no matter the intense flavors.
Ginger in Ponzu for Steamed Oysters
¼ t grated ginger—or to taste
3 T ponzu sauce
Thinly sliced green onions—to garnish
Stir grated ginger and ponzu together, and set aside.
Brush and rinse oysters of all seaweed and dirt. Place a single layer in a steamer basket or pan, facing the flatter shell up. Steam oysters for 6-8 minutes, or until shells release. Spoon on a little ponzu sauce, and garnish with green onion.
Another note: I added much more ginger than ¼ teaspoon, which overwhelmed the sauce. Consider starting with even less, adding more as you prefer. Though I didn’t use any type of sugar, sweetening the mix might help balance the sharp ginger and tanginess of the vinegar and citrus.
This sharkskin and wood grater is generally used to grate fresh horseradish root, often served with sashimi. The delicate bamboo ‘spatula’ is actually a brush for the grater. I love using the obscure cooking tools I’ve collected over the years. The aluminum grater is a general purpose hand tool. Both yielded super fine ginger.
As I shuck, Don mixes a cocktail sauce of creamy horseradish and ketchup—very traditional. I mostly managed to retain the liquid in each oyster. Consuming the delicate liquid that surrounds each creature in its shell is one of the primary pleasures of raw oysters. I often sip before saucing and slurping. It’s a taste of how the ocean smells: pungent, fresh, alive.
Our plate of oceany goodness!
My experiment in steamed oysters also looked good.
We sat. We slurped. We finished in 10. Totally satisfying and absolutely delicious!
If you’re curious about where I get my seafood…
I’ve been a member of Real Good Fish, a community supported fishery, since December 2012. Formerly known as Local Catch, Real Good Fish delivers the catch of the week for members to pick up from as far north as Mill Valley in Marin County, down to Carmel Valley Village.
My subscription fee feels on the spendy side at $22 per week. But every Tuesday I pick up a super fresh seafood share—a filet of 1+ lbs or 3-4 lbs as whole fish—that usually feeds all four of us, and often more. The added bonus: I am supporting a local company and many independent fishermen, all who value the ocean as a sustainable resource. Looked at from this point of view, $22 per week is a deal!
Check out their website here or on Instagram @realgoodfish for more information about their CSF and the fisherman who catch it all.
"Friday Fish" is brought to you by Alicia Tao. Model, writer and serious food lover.
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