And how about those camera-ready looks? I mean, look at those Paris oysters - huitres. They are piled in baskets for the evening’s delight, and people rush home with so many damp bags that the street smells like a shoreline. I admire their rocky textures and lust for them, they are all so different, and have different names, and…and…wait. A dim light behind the lens. But you don’t like oysters. Well…yes. Maybe I just like taking their picture.
In yesterday’s Tell Simmer, Molly Wizenberg noted that she, too, wishes she could thrill to the slimy devils but just can’t – yet. I’ve downed a few oysters in places where it’s worth trying, coast to coast, and I even own a shucker, but that tool sits dry in a drawer.
I suspect I only like oysters in some fussy preparation like Oysters Rockefeller, where buttery crumbs on your tongue mask the watery gulp in your throat. Love them or leave them, oysters inspire waves of feeling. Do you love our rubbery friends from the deep?
While you chew on that, check out this recipe from Patricia Wells’ classic Bistro Cooking. From a restaurant on the Atlantic coast of France called L’Huitre Joyeuse – The Happy Oyster – it combines spicy sausage and oysters for a traditional fisherman’s snack. Add buttered bread, and we may have an oyster I can get behind.
Huitres et Saucisses from L’Huitre Joyeuses
1 dozen oysters, shells well scrubbed under cold running water, shucked
8 oz bulk pork sausage meat
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Place the oysters on a plate of crushed ice. Arrange the oysters, balancing them so they do not lose any of their liquid. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate. Remove the oysters 10 minutes before serving.
In a medium-size bowl, blend the sausage meat with the thyme, pepper flakes and salt. Mix well with your hands to blend thoroughly. Shape the pork mixture into 4 equal-size round patties, about 1/2-inch thick.
In a medium-size skillet, cook the patties over medium-high heat until golden brown on the outside and cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve the sausages immediately, accompanied by the oysters, sliced of buttered, crisp-crusted bread, and chilled white wine.