If there’s one thing I simply cannot get enough of- it’s oysters!!
The season has just started this week, so I thought, what better time to write about the celestial joys of the noble Ostreidae ?!
First of all- I find it a crying shame that many people here in Israel have never tried an oyster.
It’s a crime! A sin! It’s inexcusable!
I’ve heard people say things like: “You want me to.. eat that thing?!”
But it’s..alive!!” “it’s slippery… slimy!” “it’s fishy!”
And you know what I say to this?! “NONSENSE!!”
A really fresh oyster is one of the most sublime of culinary delights-
The first of it’s surprises is it’s ability to transport one back in time, to places of happy memory-
in my case, I grew up always next to the sea- and some of my happiest times were when I was wading through tide-pools with my dad, him showing me the infinite worlds contained in these saline microcosms- salt spray from the breakers beyond the cliffs misting over us from below, the clean, salty, air full of freshness and life-
THAT is the scent of a really fresh oyster- the ONLY scent, by the way, it should have- If it has even the remotest hint of , let’s say, *ahem*, the beach in Jaffa in summer, or anything similar or worse- Throw it away!
here is a link to Monterey Bay Aquarium- It’s an incredible place, like no where else in the world..
This is the place where I grew up, and my dad, a marine biologist, did a lot of research in this area in the 60’s.
They have one of the world’s top Ocean Research and Conservation Centers there, and I strongly urge you to read about Sustainable Seafood-
Your choices in what you eat from the sea impact the fate of the world’s oceans!
The second of it’s gifts is the delicacy of it’s texture- There is nothing slimy about a fresh oyster! it has a crisp, yet delicate feel, like a perfectly cooked al-dente pasta!
Each type varies in flavour and colour depending on where they are from, the temperature of the water (the colder the water, the better. That’s why the season ends at the first of the warm months, and begins at the end of them.) what type of material it feeds on, and the salinity of the water.
And perhaps the very best of the sensory treasures the oyster will bestow on you, is the unmistakable Frisson of feeling absolutely decadent and privileged when you are eating them!
We are lucky now to be able to get good oysters in Israel- you just have to know where to get them!
I order mine from Moshe Penster, in the Shuk ha’ Carmel- you remember- the guy I recently had the “Night Shuk Sushi Bar” with?!
Here’s his number: 03-510-1863. Make sure you tell him I sent you!
and make sure to specify that you want them only on the day they arrive here from France!
Or, if you are lazy, intimidated by opening them, or just want to spoil yourself- you can go to Yoezer Bar Yain.
2 Yoezer Ish Habira St.
Jaffa (near the clock)
And make sure to ask Shaul Avron, the charming, sophisticated, and knowledgeable owner, to choose for you an Aligote (A lovely Bourgogne white wine!) to accompany them!
I had a 2004 Aligote over there recently (by the way, 2004 and 2007 are two of the very best vintages for Aligote in recent years..) which blew my mind!
it actually TASTED like a plate of fresh oysters! Whoah!!
Another wine which goes great with oysters (besides Champagne,obviously.. And I mean CHAMPAGNE, not Cava!!) is Sancerre, as I mentioned before.
It is just perfect.
And a really top-notch French Rose (NOT Israeli- sorry- not dry enough at all) is excellent, too. As a matter of fact, there is a Rose de Sancerre!
As for different kinds- well, that would take a whole separate post to really get into-
and as usual- this post has gotten out of hand!
so let’s say I will continue this tomorrow.. and include lots more details, links, and places to go.. both in France, and in California.. so see you tomorrow!!!