Awaken your senses with oystersBobby R. Presents Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Ascribed to Cleopatra and Casanova, an oyster on the half shell has been an element of sexual connotation almost by default. The truth behind the oyster as an aphrodisiac lies in an elevated content of zinc. Oysters deliver 110-1,200 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for every 3.5 ounces consumed. Zinc is associated with increased levels of testosterone and dopamine which facilitate a more hungry sex drive not to mention a boost to the immune system.
Other foods high in zinc and just as sexually alluring to the foodie include caviar, chocolate and pate. But aphrodisiacal treats are not limited to those that contain high concentrations of zinc. Celery is known to increase pheromone excretion and raw garlic has been attributed to an increased blood flow to the sex organs. Some are more visually stimulating, such as the fig, avocado and banana while others lower inhibitions chemically, namely alcohol.
Combining both alcohol with a shucked oyster is one of my favorite ways to decrease my inhibitions while elevating my sexual motivation. The oyster shooter is an oversized shot of spicy vodka, cocktail sauce and an oyster served with a lemon squeeze. This is a cocktail of full oral intensity lending heat from the vodka and cocktail sauce which is then cooled by the oyster rolling over the tongue.
Aside from the shooter, I had never been a fan of eating oysters on the half. My revelation came a few years ago in Georgetown, D.C. I had placed two orders of oyster shooters after a long day of shopping. When the order arrived, at first what seemed to my chagrin, I was faced with a dozen raw oysters on the half shell with two airport bottles of Absolut Peppar. This was the D.C. translation of oyster shooters, a half dozen shucked oysters with the booze as a chaser. I had never before sat to enjoy oysters unadulterated but was not going to send the food back because of a user error and was sure as hell not going to let my dollars go to waste. So I went in with conviction. I learned slowly how to enjoy the lunch but what surprised me most was the sweet taste I had in the back of my throat for the rest of the day. It was like heroin for the foodie. I’ve been chasing that first high ever since.
These raw oysters inherently incite the feeling to blush with flavor descriptors such as briney, sweet and creamy along with the smooth and delicate consistency of a meat that easily slides down your throat. For those who like a more acidic taste note, the mignonette which is the traditional oyster accoutrement of vinegar infused with red onion will satisfy the craving.
Although spitters are quitters, I do understand that the raw oyster is not for all. Fortunately unlike some co-factors and other enzymes, the zinc content of the oyster and absorption by the body is not changed by cooking. Oysters Rockefeller (recipe included) is a great alternative and tasty way for an easy cooked preparation.
Whether enjoying oysters on the half at Oceanaire in the Gaslamp with a perfectly paired champagne or oyster shooters at South Beach Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach remember that though alcohol may lower inhibitions and the oysters lift your dick, too much booze will have the opposite effect. Happy Pride to everyone and down the hatch.
Of course it is better to shuck them yourself but if you do not know how or simply don’t want to, have your seafood guy shuck the oysters for you a couple hours before preparation, reserving the deep side of the shell in a separate bag. Also, although rock salt works well for cooking and presentation, you can substitute dried beans or rice you have in the cupboard to stabilize the shells.
An appetizer for 4 people:
20 shucked oysters
6 slices of bacon
1/4 pound finely chopped spinach
1/2 cup minced scallions (whites)
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/8 cup minced celery heart
2 cloves minced garlic
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of Pernod (optional)
2 tablespoons anchovy paste (optional)
Pinch of cayenne
First, cook the bacon, crumble then set aside.
In a bowl toss to combine the spinach, scallions, breadcrumbs or panko, parsley, celery heart and garlic.
In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium high heat until the foam subsides. Add in the vegetable-breadcrumb mix and sauté until wilted (about 2 minutes). Add in the Pernod, anchovy paste (both optional) and the cayenne. Set aside and allow to cool. In an ovenproof baking sheet or casserole dish, fill with about a quarter to half an inch of rock salt (or dried beans) and arrange the oyster shells evenly. Place an oyster in each shell half, spooning a small amount of the oyster liquid on top to moisten. Using a small spoon, evenly distribute the vegetable-breadcrumb mix onto the oysters. Sprinkle the bacon evenly on top and finish it off with another sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Bake the oysters at 475 degrees for 15 minutes. Place some more rock salt (or dried beans) on a platter and arrange the oysters. Garnish with some reserved parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy!
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