EVENT: 3rd of July on the Island
VENUE: Phoebe’s Parent’s House, Martha’s Vineyard
PARTY SIZE: 2
TYPE: Romantic Saturday Night Dinner by the Sea
MENU: Broiled Oysters with Siracha-Lime Butter; Southeast Asian Paella with Bay Scallops and Shrimp; Patty Pan Squash Sauté
Josh loves oysters, and so do I. On lazy Sundays this spring, there is nothing we enjoyed more than wandering around the city, popping into a seafood shop during happy hour, and spending more money on oysters than we would on dinner that night. If we were oyster connoisseurs, this might be justified. It would be part of our education, and we could pay attention to which varietals had the more melon-y aftertaste versus the salty, briny flavor of the ocean. In Seattle, we ate a lot of oysters described to us this way, and we tried to digest the information. But that kind of heady enjoyment of food isn’t really our style. So we continue to just slurp and savor.
As two headstrong Scorpios who think we’re always right, in addition to eating a lot of oysters, we also make a lot of bets. Instead of betting money or pride, we’ve discovered that both (in addition to our relationship) are better preserved by betting in oysters. This way, we both always win. Of course, this also means that our bets are more expensive in the long run, as we consume more oysters than necessary. Ordinarily, guessing Robert Pattinson’s age at 29 is not something I would bet money on. But oysters? I’ll go in for 1/2 a dozen. Which means, upon discovering that he is indeed 25 (yikes), I am down 6 oysters (3 of which I get to eat).
Over 4th of July weekend, Josh came out to Martha’s Vineyard with me for the first time. I showed him the ropes, including highlights like this Fried Green Tomato BLT. But instead of stopping for oysters and eating them on the Vineyard Haven dock, as we might have ordinarily done, Josh decided to show me a thing or two as well: how to shuck oysters ourselves!
We picked up a shucking knife and glove at LeRoux, and a dozen Katama Bay oysters at the Net Result (paid for by Josh and his losing bet from a few weeks prior). At home we proceeded to dirty many of my mom’s dish towels with oyster gunk and shell residue, and to tone our muscles in the process, trying to get the damn things open (NOTE: shucking oysters should be added to this calorie-burning list). But by the end, we had 12 beautifully shucked oysters—well worth the effort, and perhaps, also worth the $2 apiece next time to get someone else to shuck them for you.
We ate a few raw with mignonette, and laced the rest with siracha-lime butter, courtesy of this Food52 recipe that I’ve been dying to try, but had no oyster shucking skills to help me execute. After a trip to the boiler, the oysters were spicy, sweet, delicate, and briny—an aftertaste that falls under the technical description “delicious.”
From my kitchen, where a good bet will win you oysters, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Broiled Oysters with Siracha-Lime Butter
Adapted from melissav on Food52
Makes 1 dozen oysters (i.e. never enough!)
The original recipe is pretty straightforward, but that didn’t stop me from cutting as many corners as possible. Instead of taking the time to make the butter, I actually divided all the ingredients among the oysters and topped them with diced pieces of butter. The original butter recipe makes enough for plenty more oysters, so I’ve adapted it to my quantity as well.
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 equal cubes
a dozen oysters on the half shell
Combine the lime, sriracha, shallot, cilantro and salt in a bowl. Divide among the oysters. Top each oyster with a cube of butter.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler until very hot.
Broil for 5 minutes, until the oysters are opaque, and the butter is bubbling. Allow to cool on a serving platter.