Each year the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid on Cape Cod, http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/long-pasture, under Sanctuary Director Ian Ives, hosts walking tours of a Barnstable Oyster Farm along with an oyster tasting. The current tours are all filled but watch our Events feature on the Capecodrestaurants.com website for future tours. Meanwhile, enjoy a little oyster trivia and a fabulous recipe.
Did you know that the cultivation of oysters began more than 2,000 years ago in Rome? Oysters were a staple food for Native Americans. 100 years ago, oyster harvests exceeded 10 million bushels a year. These days they are not as plentiful – why? mostly because we ate them. Today, farming oysters is a big business. It’s a business that’s great for the environment – oysters feed on algae and filter the water. Long term, oysters have the potential to dramatically improve water quality. Plus they are sooo good!
And, in case you didn’t know, oysters are also an aphrodisiac. It’s said that Casanova (a famous 18th century lover) ate 50 oysters for breakfast every day. Take a look at one of Cape Cod’s fabulous oyster farms: Barnstable Seafarms owned by Les Hemmila. And enjoy one of our favorite oyster recipes from “The New Irish Table“.
Baked Rock Oysters with Bacon, Cabbage and Guinness Sabayon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup Guinness stout
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 outer green cabbage leaves, finely shredded
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 slices Irish or Canadian bacon, chopped
24 oysters in the shell
In a double boiler, whisk egg yolks, Guinness, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Place over barely simmering water and whisk 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and gradually drizzle in melted butter until sauce is well blended.
Cook cabbage in salted boiling water 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Drain and immerse in cold water. Drain again.
In small skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
Shuck oysters over small bowl. Reserve deeper half of each shell and rinse under cold water. Place shells on a bed of rock salt in a small baking sheet with sides. Divide cabbage among the shells, put an oyster on top of each and sprinkle bacon over oysters. Spoon some of the sabayon over each. Place under pre-heated boiler 4 inches from heat and cook for about 3 minutes, or until sauce is browned and bubbling. Makes 4 servings.