Poet Anne Sexton saw the dozen oysters before her arranged on the plate like numbers on a clock, like time, and she looked from her father's satisfaction with his "clear as tears" martini and platter of oysters to her own plate of "twelve eyes...running with lemon and Tabasco." Like all difficult experiences, the first swallow was disconcerting, "a large pudding" going down. But by the time that 'one o'clock' and two were eaten, there was laughter and "I was fifteen/and eating oysters/and the child was defeated./The woman won."
Anne Sexton, "Oysters", from The Book of Folly
The absolute best part of fall is that we get into the "R" months and my favoritest food in the whole world, oysters (any way), are in season. Oyster recipes will become a reoccurring theme here and to kick things off I thought I'd start with a short tutorial on proper shucking. My Nana always had a raw bar at family gatherings with her faithful helper Rosie shucking for us but, I'm not so spoiled that I can't hold my own with the best of them at any oyster roast. Time to sharpen the ole skills cuz the Urbanna Oyster Festival in Virginia is November 6 and 7 and I have BIG plans for a weekend of oyster gluttony...
I never turn my nose up at any oyster cookery, being the ardent oyster lover that I am, but I prefer my raw oysters (Chincoteague please!) on the half shell naked in all their salty glory, minus a generous squeeze of fresh lemon and a dollop of cocktail sauce. For those less inclined to the briny taste of sea I shall suggest an accompaniment of Mignonette Sauce and a glass of Pouilly-Fumé. If you are of the same school of thought as Prescott here, at least go for the glass of Pouilly-Fumé...
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
Mix thoroughly and serve well chilled
Kindness of fellow oyster aficionado and friend Alexandra Lee Small for alerting me to the "must attend" annual mollusk event...