Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
I wanted to pull together something in the sustainable seafood realm for a little pre-Valentine’s warm-up, so of course: Oysters! There’s nothing more sustainable than oysters. Farmers today buy baby oyster seeds from the baby oyster seed sellers, then plant them in bags out in tidal flats and as they lay there they actually clean the oceans, eating the microscopic plants that would otherwise grow too well because of fertilizer run-off from farms. So that’s extremely sustainable. Also, they’re delicious! Also, they’re supposed to be an aphrodisiac, I think because of the sea minerals. Or maybe how they look. But we will absolutely not dwell on that! Anyway, the legend of oysters says that you’re supposed to eat them in the cold-weather months with ‘r’s in them, so you’ve got all of February and March to get after them if you’ve already got Valentine’s reservations. Here are my top five!
Ree Drummond’s Oyster dressing
Oyster dressing is usually a Christmas or Thanksgiving dish, because it’s so salty, rich and festive, but why not serve it on Valentine’s Day? It’s beautiful with ham, turkey or chicken, and would make a winter dinner party amazing. I picked a nice one from friend of the show Ree Drummond: Yum.
Serve these with a crisp lager for a first course, or stuff them inside a soft baguette with shredded lettuce and mayo for a get-r-done Po’boy. Fancy and totally plain at the same time.
Emeril’s Oysters Rockefeller
Not just for expense account dinners anymore! This recipe is over a hundred years old now, and hails from a venerable New Orleans recipe called Antoines. And it is utterly delicious. Because of the garlic and butter. Obviously. But also the herbs make an excellent compliment to the salty brightness of the oysters. Thanks Emeril!
Oyster and Saltines
What’s salty, elegant and takes about five minutes to make? And is not pickled herring? Smoked oysters are back! See if you can find good ones from Vancouver or Washington.
Oysters on the half shell
Full of minerals including calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, and copper; rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and D, and good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids, but also practically calorie free, at 5 to 40 calories each, depending on how big they are, oysters on the half-shell are the perfect healthy indulgence. Gather your loved one or loved ones, watch a video on how to shuck an oyster, and this will be more enjoyable than a big cardboard heart of drugstore candy, I promise.