The oyster has been the ultimate symbol for edible aphrodisiacs. It is the universal emblem for sex and fertility. As Spring is the time to plant seeds and the Oyster has the magical ability to make pearls, in Connecticut we are lucky enough to have some wonderful Atlantic bivalve mollusks that are plump and appealing in salinity. Oysters thrive in Connecticut’s tidal waves and brackish coasts. Consumed by Connecticut’s Native Americas in great numbers, the early Europeans saw oysters as a viable staple in their colonial diets. There are many shellfish species associated with the Connecticut shoreline; however the oyster is king and respected for its flamboyant history, economic foundation, and revered reputation for excellence. I love serving them because they are sexy and an easy amuse bouche or starter for your honored guests. Once you get the hang of opening them which is easy when you have the right tools, all you have do is make a simple dressing or just have some interesting hot sauces and a little horseradish if you like and you have a superb start to a great evening. Elm City Market is one of few places to get local fresh Oysters for home consumption. They have shucking knives and all the accoutrements necessary for an epicurean feast. The mignonette below is super fast and compliments the brininess of the oysters with the sweetness of mango. Since we are longing for Spring in the midst of so much snow and we all need a break, this recipe makes a tropical bite size treat for now.
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup mango juice
¼ cup minced chives
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and serve over freshly shucked oysters and clams.
I have always had a love affair with lobster. The first one I probably had was in Jamaica where they are only tails with no claws. My grandfather was a fisherman and from our house you can see what you might eat for the night with personal deliveries from the men of sea coming up the street with freshly caught lobster, shrimp, fish, and the always crazy looking octopus. People always ask me as a chef, “what is your favorite food?” I feel funny saying lobster because for the most part, I love it plain, butter poached or grilled with a good butter. I might flavor it with herbs, take it back to my Jamaican heritage and curry it, or be decadent and make this gluttonous truffle sabayon. I love the aroma of truffles. The smell and taste is so distinctive of mushroom, earth, and fresh air. Elm City Market has been having some amazing lobster tails for $5.99 each. They are wild, local, and a welcome treat to celebrate just being you. I buy a bunch and leave them in the freezer so when unexpected company comes over or I want to be indulgent, I make this quick and easy gourmet recipe that will make you smile bright with ecstasy.
Makes Sauce for 6- 8 Servings
6 large egg yolks
½ cup dry white wine
6 oz. heavy cream, whipped stiffly
8 oz. clarified butter, room temperature
4 oz. white truffle oil
to taste - salt and pepper
In a large metal mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and the white wine. Using a whisk, combine the two until they appear frothy and well mixed. Over a double boiler, whisk the egg mixture continuously until the eggs are cooked. The mixture should be creamy in appearance and silky smooth in texture. No scrambled looking eggs should appear.
Using the whisk, slowly add the clarified butter in a steady stream until completely mixed together. Use the same method for the white truffle oil. Spoon and fold the cold whipped cream into the egg mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve until final assembly.