May 15, 2010

A Charmed Life

Hello. I feel like I’ve been neglecting you (and by “you” I mean the four or five readers I have who are not related to me or make a habit of drinking wine with me and Tom on our back porch).  I do however have an excellent excuse. Tom and I recently returned from a much needed vacation to Ireland.

I know. Ireland? Really? We neither one of us is even a little bit Irish. And I don’t like beer.  But we needed a get-away that was just for the two of us. No family, no friends, somewhere that was completely unfamiliar and strange to the both of us. I wanted to go somewhere where I could smell the Atlantic Ocean; Tom wanted to go somewhere where he could spend hours taking thousands of scenic pictures. And so Ireland it was. We were so excited. I bought pink flowered wellies, Tom rented a lens for his already decked out camera. We were so ready.

Then Eyjafjallajökull happened. Thank you Iceland. We were stunned. What are the odds your trip to Ireland is threatened due to a volcano acting up in Iceland?  A blizzard in April? Yes, good chance in New England. But a volcano? Apparently, also very good.

My dad often boasts that he lives a charmed life, from always finding a parking space in downtown Boston, to having a happy, healthy family, to falling out of a moving truck and somehow not getting run over, it does seem that my dad is one lucky guy. Well, recently we decided that charmed lives run in the family. As our departure to Ireland approached, Tom and I waited out the hundreds of canceled flights to Europe with crossed fingers. In the end, we were the first flight from Boston to Shannon and, as it so happens, the last flight from Shannon to Boston before Eyjafjallajökull started throwing a fit again. Be it charm or perhaps the luck of the Irish, we got there and back, safe and sound.

When visiting the Emerald Island I should think most people look forward to the Guinness. I know Tom did. Nonna put me under specific of orders upon landing in Ireland to find a pub, order a nice cold beer and think of her. I ordered a pint, took exactly three sips, gave it to Tom and replaced it with a whiskey.  It turns out that even in Ireland I don’t do beer. That’s okay though. Because I didn’t go to Ireland for the beer- I went for the oysters.

Our first day in Ireland, we stopped at a little oyster house, just outside of Galway.  We ordered one platter of raw and one platter of garlic grilled Edulis oysters. So fresh, so meaty, so filled with salt air and sea breeze.

When we returned home my dad, the seafood enthusiast, helped me to replicate the garlic grilled oysters we had so enjoyed that first day in Ireland.

He also shared with me his broiled oyster recipe. Like me, my dad loves raw oysters. My mom however, absolutely does not.  But, she does love my dad. Just to prove it, when they were dating she ate her first and last raw oyster. After that my dad started fixing them with bacon and cocktail sauce so that my mom would like them better.

I would say that my dad is absolutely right. When you get to spend an afternoon in the kitchen with your family  playing with oysters, and enjoying clams and lobster, you do, very much so, lead a charmed life.

Dad’s Broiled Oysters with Bacon

I know that for many people (Nonna included) oysters just aren’t their thing. I understand that texture plays a big role in this. The recipe I’m about to share with you, I believe helps with that. Also, when experiencing oysters, I think it’s essential to have the imagery right. Think “taste of the ocean”. And, a dash of hot sauce always helps.  I think Mr. Hemingway says it best:

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.” -Ernest Hemingway

A dozen oysters

1 slice of bacon, roughly chopped

This cocktail sauce

I’m not even going to attempt to explain how to go about shucking an oyster. That’s what dads and EHow are for.

Place a dab, and I do mean a dab, of cocktail sauce on each oyster. Top with a piece of bacon. Broil until bacon is crisp.


  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    Looks yummy! Can't wait to try this out (maybe with you guys)!

  2. Yes! An oyster shucking party! :)

  3. Hi Anina
    what incredible photo's!!! love the oysters!! Just had my girls make some garlic oysters....yumm.....

  4. An additional tip and you actually show it above: oysters have a lot of liquid that you don't want to lose (for taste) or get on you (for looks). Place the shucked oyster on a bed of sea salt for presentation and leveling! You can also use this little trick when broiling so the oysters will stay horizontal and broil evenly!

  5. Chef Dennis, Thank you for your comment. I do you hope your girls learn to love oysters!

    Dad, as always thank you for your seafood expertise. In case I haven't mentioned yet, my dad got his Ph.D. in Fish. So he is trustworthy.