Feasting on Fresh Oysters-My Oyster Rockefeller Recipe
Recipe for Oysters Rockefeller
Last year while I was shopping for groceries in Food Max, my eyes bulged with excitement when I saw two dozen of live fresh oysters. I was not intending to buy it, because it was not in my budget, but I thought it is time to celebrate the final closing of my home refinancing loan which will save me about $160 from my monthly mortgage payment. The 24 live oysters( 12 medium and 12 large sizes) cost me $19.99. This is still cheap if you compare eating oysters in Red Lobster or in any seafood restaurant here in Northern California. The 12 large Oysters I baked in the oven at 350F for only 15 minutes.
Caution: Do not over baked as the oysters will get dry. Shut off the oven as soon as the shells begin to open. Serve the baked oysters with a twist of lemon and Tabasco sauce. Serve with fresh steamed corn on the cub and a glass of white wine(chardonnay). Yum, Yum, Yum!
The species I purchased were the Pacific oysters farmed in the area near the Point Reyes National Park, North of San Francisco and South of Bodega Bay. These large oysters are sweet and meaty, but not as delicious as the Philippine variety that I am used to. These large oysters are a mouthful for eating raw, but they are perfect for grilling and baking!
When we were still residing in the East Bay, my family used to purchase fresh oysters at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, at the Point Reyes National Park Estuary. However, the Federal government has issued an order for the company to get out of the Federal land by not approving the continuation of their lease.
When was the last time you have eaten fresh Oysters?
Point Reyes National Seashore
My Wife's Favorite Recipe for Oyster Rockefeller
The other 12 medium size I made into Oyster Rockefeller from my wife's collection of recipes as follows:
6 oz shredded sharp cheddar
12 fresh, live medium oysters
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1/8 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped sweet onions ( Vidalia)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 dash hot pepper sauce( Tabasco or El Tapatio brand))
1/2 bar salted butter( margarine or Australian can butter will do)
2 cups Rock salt for presentation only
Clean oysters with warm water., Broil on High or boil until shells open. Do not over cooked.. Remove from oven or pot and cool oysters. When cooled break the top shell off of each oyster. Chopped oysters 1/2 cm.
Chopped the thawed spinach, bread crumbs, and the sweet onions. Sauteed in butter or margarine until spinach is cooked. Add the salt and hot sauce to your taste, .
Arrange the oysters in their half shells on a pan with Rock salt. Spoon some of the spinach mixture on each oyster half shell. Add bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese on top. Broil for about 10 minutes until bread crumbs turn brown and the cheese melts..Served with garlic bread and chardonnay.
When I was growing up in the Philippines, I hated oysters. To me it feels like eating a slippery worm. But my mother loves it. She usually ordered our cook to just steamed it. She has a favorite sauce consisting of vinegar with chili, garlic and a little soy sauce.
There are four popular species of oysters cultivated in the brackish and sometimes polluted waters of the Philippines.They are much smaller than the Pacific Oysters here in Northern California. In general, Filipinos do not eat raw oysters, They believe it is not good for their health.because it thrives on brackish and perhaps polluted waters. However, today oysters farming in the Philippines is becoming a good and profitable business.
One of the popular restaurant in Metro Manila, served oysters cooked seven ways, One way is the Rockefeller style which is my favorite in the menu. .The restaurant also offers oysters Bienviile, oysters Casino and oysters Bruschetta in their menu.
Another recipe that my wife used to cook (prior to her Parkinson Disease diagnosis) was the variation of the Oyster Bienville. Instead of shrimps,she used meat from the Philippine hard shell crabs and if available meat from the coconut lobster in Marinduque. She has named the recipe, Oyster Marinduqueno in honor of the island province where we have our second home.
Three Awesome Oysters Bar in the US
Oyster farming in the Philippines
A couple of years ago, while on vacation to the Philippines, I was lucky to be invited by a friend to tour an oyster farm In Bacoor Bay, Cavite in the town of Bacoor. It was less than an hour drive from Manila after we got out of the Metro Manila congested traffic. The oyster farm I visited was family owned. Its production was not enough for the high demand of fresh oysters in Metro Manila. The species cultured was C palmipes, a specie that grows fast and has a straight shell margin making it easy to open.
There are two farming methods in oysters production in the Philippines -.the Stake and the Hanging methods. Both of these methods are inexpensive. The Bacoor farm used the stake method
In the Stake method,- the basal portions of the mature bamboos are used. The length of bamboo trunks depends upon the water depth at the farm site. They are arranged at 1.0 m interval. The tips of the stakes usually extend above the low water mark by about one-half meter.
This visit was one of the highlights of my vacation in the Philippines in 2011. It reminded me of my boyhood days in the fish ponds of my parents home in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines.