November 13, 2013

All about (BBQ) Oysters

As it happens, barbecued oysters are a specialty in Northern California. More specifically in a town of Bodega Bay (pop. 1,077). Bodega Bay, known for being the site of Hitchcock's Birds, is a tiny town perched on the rocky coast of Bodega Harbor in Sonoma County. Other places surely have considered tossing oysters on the grill but for the purposes of this tale, Bodega Bay is the cradle of this genius idea.

So back to oysters. Raw oysters may be stuff of legends but they do not rock my boat. I don't love the slimy texture nor am I keen on possible pathogens. Barbecued variety came as a revelation (thanks, Ash!) - smoky, buttery, garlicky, irresistible!

Lunch of BBQed oysters from a tiny shack, ahem, cafe.

Lunch left us longing for more oysters, so to the fish market we went to pick up these beauties. After a thorough scrubbing to get the grit off, oysters go on a hot grill (though our batch had to be finished off in the oven). The oyster dude at the grill in Bodega Bay shucks oysters before grilling to avoid handling hundreds of hot oysters but at home we thought we could manage shucking a couple dozen after cooking them since they are so much easier to pop open.

Freshly scrubbed oysters - not a fun job, by the way, and a scrubby brush helps.

Oh, right. Warm and shucked, oysters on half shell got a dose of sauce - we had to wing in here: chopped onions (shallots may have been better here), garlic, barbeque sauce, Siracha (because it makes everything better!), squirt of lemon or lime. I do dearly wish we had fresh parsley to sprinkle on top and I am sure bacon or a splash of dry white wine would not be unwelcome. But we had a perfect accompaniment - Ace Pear Cider, but that's for another post.

Behold, two dozen beauties!
Lastly, I am not a seafood expert so eat the bivalves at your own risk.


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