Saturday, August 15, 2009

Turner's Seafood: Oyster Fest

He was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” (Jonathan Swift)

"Actually, oysters were eaten by prehistoric man thousands of years ago. As the centuries passed, oyster beds were depleted as a result of disease, pollution and sedimentation. Oysters’ subsequent scarcity led to their status as a luxury/delicacy. About a hundred years ago, however, man learned how to farm and cultivate oysters, and the happy result is a wide variety of healthy specimens growing year-round from Wellfleet, Massachusetts to Wellington, New Zealand."

Oysters from Maine, Cape Cod and the coastal Northwest will be featured at Oyster Fest, celebrated at Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose next month with a special menu showcasing the revered bivalve in such dishes as:

* Classic New England Oyster Stew (see recipe below)
* On the half shell with ginger-lime, chipotle or cranberry mignonette
* Oysters Casino
* Baked Mediterranean Style with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and olives
* Oyster Rockefeller Stuffed Fish of the Day
* Pan-Fried in Cream Sauce Over Fish of the Day
* Panko-Fried Oysters
* Vodka Oyster Shooters

Like all the fish, bivalves and shellfish at Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market, its oysters are carefully sourced, kept chilled during transit, inspected multiple times from dock to kitchen, and totally delicious. Dieters note: a dozen raw oysters contains just 110 calories, no fat, and is rich in iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamin A.

Classic New England Oyster Stew
Serves 4-6 people

1 Pound shucked oysters
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Cup chopped shallots
½ Pound chopped bacon
2 Teaspoons chopped garlic
2 Teaspoons sea salt
½ Teaspoon black pepper
¼ Teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ Cup chopped leaks
1 Quart light cream
24 Oz. milk

1) In a 4-quart sauce pan, cook bacon over medium heat until brown and cooked through. Remove bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain, leaving the fat in the pan.
2) Sauté the shallots and garlic in the fat until tender. Next, add the oysters and their liquor and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and stir until it is melted.
3) Sprinkle in the flour and gently stir until well blended. Cook this mixture for about one minute. Finally, add the remaining ingredients including the milk, light cream and the bacon.
4) Bring stew to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until desired thickness. Season with S & P to taste.

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