Thursday, September 19, 2013
Shigoku Oysters with Seafood Mary Shaved Ice
Oyster purists will argue that raw oysters should be consumed as is, with no embellishment, with the possible exception of a squeeze fresh lemon! But for many of us the addition of some kind of sauce or condiment adds to the experience, making slurping oysters more fun and pleasurable. This recipe is a “twist” on the traditional cocktail sauce, with added fresh horseradish and lime juice to add a little “zip” to any oyster on the half shell. I’ve called this a Seafood Mary Sauce and it is actually a Granita, which is a preparation which is turned into shaved ice.
Shigoku Oysters are an elegant, deep cupped oyster with gorgeous black and gold shells. They are cultivated by using a unique method which tumbles the shells naturally with the rise & fall of the tides. They are placed in narrow, rectangular mesh cages which are attached to a horizontal line on one end, and have floats at the opposite end. Thus, as the tides ebb and flow the floats cause the cages to rise or fall, resulting in the gentle tumbling of the oysters in the cage. This tumbling chips the edges of the shell causing the oyster to grow a deeper cup rather than a broader or longer shell. It also creates very uniformly shaped, manicured shells. Shigokus have a briny bite, a clean, sweet flavor with a hint of cucumber and melon finish.
In the center of the dish I made an “ice sculpture” by freezing some pink peppercorns and tarragon in a rectangular mold. Its so easy to do and adds a cool presentation piece. Add about half the amount of water you need for the thickness you want (mine is about 1/2″ thick). Freeze it. Add about 1 or 2 tsp of water, then add your garnishes (pink peppercorns, etc). Freeze. Add remaining water to the thickness you want the sculpture to be. This process puts the garnishes “inside” the ice.
2 cups V-8 juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
9 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh horseradish, micro-planed
Pinch sea salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a broad, shallow pan (such as a 2″ half pan, or a cake pane) and place in the freezer. As it starts to freeze, use a fork to drag through the forming crystals to break them up into shaved ice. Repeat this process about every 5-10 minutes until all of the mixture has frozen and been shaved into tiny crystals. The purpose of the process is to keep it from freezing into a solid block of ice. The resulting small crystals should have the consistency of a snow cone.
At service, use a brush to scrub the oyster shells clean. Carefully shuck them, being sure to preserve the precious liquor (the liquid inside of the oyster shell). There are a variety of ways to present them. You can serve them on crushed ice, rock salt, over mixed greens (spring mix), or any other thing that will keep the oysters level. At the last moment, add about 1 teaspoon of the granita on top of each oyster and serve immediately because the granite will melt quickly.