What we’ve been smoking

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We’re awash in oysters. They aren’t the ones we’re growing, they’re the ones the town grows, and plants for harvest by recreational shellfish permit holders. We’re recreational shellfish permit holders, and the oysters will be there for the taking for the next few weeks.

The limit is a half-peck per week, which comes to about four dozen oysters. Enough to experiment with. This week’s experiment was smoking.

The easiest way to smoke an oyster

We looked at a lot of recipes for smoked oysters, but almost all of them started with shucking, so we ruled them out. It seemed silly to go through the trouble of shucking if you’re going to cook the oysters anyway.

We opted for the simplest possible method. Kevin lit a low fire on the grill, and put some wood chips on it, and then covered the pile with a roasting pan he’d cut holes in (that’s our bluefish method). He put the oysters on the grill, cup side down, and covered it.

It took at least half an hour for the oysters to open, at which time we tasted one. It was lovely. Moist, lightly smoky, still oystery. We took the batch off the grill, and put the oysters in a bowl in the fridge.

Then, yesterday, we went up to Blood Farm. Serving as evidence for the your-name-is-your-destiny theory of career choice, Blood Farm is a slaughterhouse, one of the very few USDA facilities in the Northeast. It’s in Groton, about 30 miles outside of Boston, and it handles most of the animals from the small farms in the vicinity.

We make the two-hour trip every few months, and stock up our freezer. Almost all the meat we eat comes from Blood Farm.

Yesterday, we got lots of chicken, some lamb, some stewing beef, and even a little ground goat (for curry). And we got our Blood Farm treat. Beef tenderloin. The only time we have it in this house is on the day we make the trip. We get two little filet steaks, and Kevin grills them over a hot fire.

Since nothing complements saturated fat like more saturated fat, how about a smoked oyster cream sauce?

I sautéed a chopped shallot in butter, and added fresh sage. A few tablespoons of vermouth, and the oyster liquor went in, and cooked down to almost nothing. Then about a half-cup of cream, and eight smoked oysters. Into the blender, whirred until smooth. Back into the pan to warm, with a little more sage for color. Salt. Done.

Sucks to be us, eh?

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Comments

  1. I picked up some ground goat on speculation at the farmer’s market this summer. Formed it into brochettes, stuck them on skewers and grilled them. They were fan-#%&*ing-tastic. I think it’s the best grilled meat I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something. It was like lamb to the nth degree – in the same flavor profile, just a lot more of it. If you like lamb (and I guess you do, since you bought some) and you’re still grilling, you might consider trying the goat on its own rather than hiding it under curry flavors. Just my two cents.

    • Great great idea. We’ve never had ground goat before, only the cubed kind, and I wouldn’t have thought to treat it like lamb (which we love). Your two cents are welcome here any time.

  2. Somehow, my coffee seems inadequate after reading this. Lord, woman, I haven’t even had breakfast yet and look at the dinner food fantasies you’re giving me!

  3. Is it a coincidence that I always receive your posts before lunch? You are phenomenal. If it weren’t so rainy I would go and pick up my first shellfish rec license right now!

  4. When I came home from my lecture this morning, my mom in law had chili on that smelled so damn good. And then I read this. Not even beer with my chili will make up for not having the above for dinner. I have to tell you, ground goat does sound like an amazing thing to cook with. I may have to track some down. Maybe make your own gyros? I also think you put my gnocchi with brown butter and sage to shame with your use sage. Dang-it woman!

  5. I’ve tried grilling oysters one time, but they never opened. They must have already been dead. I wouldn’t eat them, but everyone in my group wanted to eat them anyway. Luckily no one got sick.

  6. OK, so my mouth is watering and it truly doesn’t matter what’s for dinner at our house tonight because it will pale in comparison. You guys sure know how to live!

  7. Just for the record, we usually eat way more vegetables and whole grains, and way less meat and butterfat. But I’m glad you all appreciate our little treat.

  8. Aw crap! I read your post and said steak out loud and Steve heard me and now I’m on the hook for a steak dinner this week. I wonder if I slip him a schnitzel instead if he’ll forget about the steak like a two year old….

  9. Nope. It doesn’t suck to be you at all. All this food you’re cooking up is making me HUNGRY!