It was a beautiful day at the Scudder Lane Town Landing. Hopeful oyster fisherman and women, and hardworking clammers, were abundant. We had to park about a half mile away this time – shell fishing is very popular this time of year!
Not so easy for this hardworking “Mussel Man”. We watched him dig for steamers about an hour, to catch his limit. But he was determined, and successful. It was kind of funny, he actually admitted, that he doesn’t like shellfish (heresy!), but his family does – so he’s here doing it for the team.
Buried treasure! Here is what he was working so hard to get – in the raw. So, when you enjoy your next bowl of steamers, at your favorite Cape Cod pub, now you can say ” I know where my food comes from!”
Nancy chips off barnacles and excess shell from her catch, so that the oysters fit compactly in the basket. She is also sporting her new shell fish license on her cap — she has been promoted from shell fishing assistant to a fully tenured shell fisherwoman.
This is one great deal. A license for the 5 month season only costs $ 30 – and you are allowed to catch a half-peck each week. This half-peck is worth about $60……SWEET!
Now the hard work begins – shucking the catch. it takes strong hands, surgical precision and patience to prepare the catch for the table…but it’s worth it when you slurp down one of these beauties with a little freshly grated horseradish, some lemon and a dash of hot sauce. Just don’t stab yourself during the prep or you might be saying more than “Aw Shucks!”
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup bread crumbs, Panko preferred
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1-2 tablespoons of Pernod or dry a dry Vermouth (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash red pepper sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or chervil
2 dozen oysters, on the half shell
Rock salt or dry beans
Lemon wedges, for the garnish
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Melt butter in a skillet. Saute garlic for about 2 minutes. Put bread crumbs in a bowl and add 1/2 butter-garlic mixture – set aside. Add shallots and spinach to the pan with the remaining garlic butter and cook for 3 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Deglaze the pan with Pernod, or white wine, if you are using – you can also use water or stock to deglaze, if your prefer. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper sauce. Let the mixture cook down for several minutes. To finish the breadcrumbs, mix in olive oil, grated cheese, parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of the spinach mixture on each oyster followed by a spoonful of the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle a baking pan with rock salt or small-sized dry beans (like small white navy beans). Arrange the oysters on the salt or beans to steady them. Bake in a 450 F oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and a red pepper sauce of your choice. We grated fresh horseradish and mixed it with some lemon juice, minced shallots, champagne vinegar, cracked black pepper corns, and a generous dash of red pepper sauce. ENJOY!