Sunday, September 9, 2018

Oysters and Cocktails

My annual summer ritual in New York is to enjoy oysters with cocktails like the smoky Hibiscus and Rose as well as the crisp The Shadmoor Smash ( The NYC oysters come from the east or the west coasts of the US (occasional Canadian oysters if you’re lucky), which typically are named by their harvest areas such as Chincoteague, Malpeque, Apalachicola, Wellfeet, Totten Inlet, Pickering Passage, Netarts Bay and Kumamoto. While I innately indulge on eating oysters raw without any vinegar, lemon or cocktail sauce to mask the taste of sea, I do adore how Cantonese Chinese cook oysters in so many different ways...stir fry, steam, deep fry. You name it they do it. Cantonese are ingenious in cooking seafood, typically not serving raw seafood to prevent the slight risk of poisoning but gently pursuing the extra complexity of taste by adding sauces. Steaming oysters with different Chinese sauces is a creative exercise. You could put hoisin, sriracha, black bean and garlic, vegetarian oyster, or XO sauce in the oysters and steam them in shell. Lee Kum Kee is the sauce master, which usually takes up half of the aisle in an Asian grocery store. To foolproof the steaming method, under boiling water, all it takes is 5 minutes to steam your oysters in a lid-covered steamer, and you’ll have a plate of to-die-for oysters in front of you, regardless of what sauce you put in. Deep-frying oysters, personally, is a less preferred method of cooking these delicate sea creatures, but could be very time-saving when you are serving and pleasing a large crowd. Just make sure it’s only 5 minutes dipping them in and out of the hot oil. Bon Appetit la!

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