TENDER Steak & Seafood Executive Chef K.C. Fazel’s is sharing his oyster eating guidelines in honor of National Oyster Day on August 5.
Chef K.C. Fazel recommends these tasty oysters at TENDER Steak & Seafood:
“Oysters on the Half Shell” (6 piece choice of tasting or variety) ($20)
- Raspberry Point, Prince Edward Island, Canada: salty taste, clean flavor with delightful sweet finish
- Bluepoint, Long Island Sound, Connecticut: the “real” deal; large, plump & juicy; mildly salty
- Quonset Point, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island: salty, fresh ocean flavor; finishes mild
Chef KC’s guidelines on how to eat oysters:
THE BEGINNER: As one that isn’t so sure about this whole oyster thing, many prefer smaller, non-intimidating oysters with the lightest-flavor possible. Start by seeking the Beausoleils, Caraquets, Kumamotos and Kusshis.
THE OLDE SALTY: For those that could drink sea water or indulge in leftover pickle juice, search for oysters grown in or near the open oceans. Eastern oysters tend to be on the brinier side but a few from Baja may be some of the saltiest. Maine and Massachusetts have extremely salty oysters along with a few of the Virginia oysters.
THE SWEET TOOTH: Many super-plump oysters have a creamy sweetness that is at the opposite spectrum of the salties. Eastern oysters don’t fall into that profile; sweetness is found in the Pacific with the Kumamoto being one of the sweetest.
THE ADVENTURER: Are you an Indiana Jones of the oyster world where bluepoints or Kumamotos make you yawn? You need an oyster that is new and briny with its own individuality unlike any other. Seek the oysters that come from all corners of the continent and beyond that are one of kind that compare to none of the other standards. From the unique Olympia to the rare Whale Rocks to the Coramandels of New Zealand to the Alaskan Canoe Lagoons, create your own oyster bucket list (pun intended) as you discover new oysters from around the globe .
THE FEARLESS CHALLENGER: You want the oysters that would make others tremble at their sight. You want the largest; you want the most intensely flavored; you want aromas that will flood the room. Find the European Flat oysters to match that challenge; or your calling may be the large Pacifics from southern Puget Sound with their exotic and intense flavors; finally, the extra-large oysters could be the Mount Everest that many are intimidated by. They are all out there for the oyster conqueror.
- The same oyster variety will taste different throughout the year. A piece of folk wisdom concerning oysters is that they are best to eat in months containing the letter r, as illustrated by the famous phrase: “oysters ‘r’ in season.” This is because oysters spawn in the warmer months, from roughly May to August in the Northern Hemisphere, and their flavor when eaten raw can be somewhat watery and bland during spawning season; additionally, their meats are much reduced in size. To avoid spawning, sterile oysters are now cultured by crossbreeding oysters. Because the resulting oyster cannot propagate, the oyster spawning season does not occur. Therefore, high quality oysters can be found year round without fear or concern.
- Regardless of your position on the oyster journey, eating an oyster brings your senses to life. Oysters are not just a taste bud experience. Your overall senses sharpen. Sight, smell and touch are an essential element of the oyster. You become fully present and engaged; oysters are experience.