Friday, September 09, 2011

Oysters! Oyster Festivals!, rev. ed.

oyster fest poster fig. a: Oh, Oysterman!

For those of you oyster lovers who've been asleep at the wheel, the third annual Montreal Oyster Festival takes place this Sunday, September 11, from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in Old Montreal.

There'll be thousands upon thousands of oysters, plenty of beer and wine, and all kinds of other edible delicacies on offer, including peach and sour cherry tartlets with bourbon whipped cream by Michelle--served by Michelle herself, along with her two lovely assistants, Natasha and Thea. Stop by and say "hi."

tboc 3 fig. b: raw

Added bonus: Remember those phenomenal Tomales Bay oysters we told you all about last year (the ones you see in the photograph above)? Well, one of Daniel "Montreal Oysterguy" Notkin's fellow brothers-in-oysters will be hauling some up to Montreal all the way from California for this very occasion. Get psyched. The coast-to-coast selection will be mind-blowing.

The last time I had the pleasure of tasting Montreal Oysterguy's oysters, freshly shucked by his very hands, was at a killer La Q.V. Été event earlier this summer. Not only did we have a selection of fantastically tasty oysters from New Brunswick, Massachusetts, and Washington matched with a lovely Sancerre, but we had the option of buying oysters by the dozen to take home with us, at rock-bottom prices. Yes!

I brought three dozen home with me, and the next night we held our very own oyster festival in the privacy of AEB HQ. And because we had a relatively plentiful amount, and because we'd gotten them at such a good price, we went ahead and prepared them California style: on the grill.

They looked something like this,

grilled oysters fig. c: grilled

and they tasted like paradise.

Never grilled an oyster before? This is what you want to do:

Prepare a medium-hot grill, preferably one that's burning wood or natural charcoal.

Scrub your oysters clean.

Place your oysters on the grill, either directly, or on a piece of aluminum foil. Cover the grill with a lid to get more of that beautiful smoky flavor.

Grill the oysters until they begin to open, about 5-8 minutes. Do not wait until they've all opened. Whatever you do, you don't want to overcook them, and you definitely don't want to dry them out. So, as soon as the first couple open, take 'em all off the grill.

Once you've removed the oysters from the grill, shuck them, leaving each of your oysters with its precious juices in the half-shell. Remember, these oysters will be HOT. They've been grilling. The ones that have begun to open should be easy to shuck. Those that haven't opened up yet will be a little more difficult. Either way, remember to use a towel to handle them, because, again, they will be HOT.

When you've shucked your oysters, add the toppings of your choice. In Tomales Bay we saw all kinds of adventurous combinations being created around us. At Big Sur Bakery, they dressed their wood-fired oysters with a simple California-style mignonette. In the photo above, we went with bacon, parsley, green onions, butter, and grated Parmesan. Kind of a modified Rockefeller vibe.

Place the oysters back on the grill, covered, for another 2-4 minutes. Just long enough for the oysters to come back to temperature and for certain toppings (butter, cheese) to melt.

Remove the oysters from the grill and serve immediately.

Once again, the Montreal Oyster Festival takes place this Sunday.

Montreal Oyster Festival
The Pigeon Hole Parking Lot
Rue St Jean x Notre Dame Ouest
Sunday, September 11, 2011
2:00 PM - 9:00 PM

And you can find tickets online here.


P.S. Wondering what it looked like behind the scenes at this year's Montreal Oysterfest? You can find a full report with lots of lovely photographs right here. Nice work, PP!


Anonymous said...

you missed a special night. we missed you. i ate somewhere between 4-6 peach tarts. ballpark. they were spectacular. benefits of being an assistant...

aj kinik said...

sorry I missed it--sounds like it was fun

heard the porchetta was mental, as was the timbale

thanks for writing