Wellfleet Oysters are the Best in the World!

We are having a family feast for Labor Day 2015.  The guests of honor, as it always is for the Labor Day Holiday, is the Wellfleet Oyster and fresh Maine Lobster.

The late Howard Mitcham, a renowned chef that called Provincetown, Cape Cod home, called the Wellfleet Oyster the best in the world. In his book, entitled “Clams, Mussels and Oysters …”  Mitcham wrote that the flavor of oysters varies widely from region to region. And as anyone who has eaten a raw Oyster knows, the flavor is complex. Oysters can be sweet, salty, earthy, or even melon.

Wellfleet Oysters best in world
Wellfleet Oysters Best in World

After last Saturday, two dozen Wellfleet Oysters later, we are in complete agreement with Mitcham that the Wellfleet Oyster is the most succulent, sweet oyster in the world.   The clean, crisp, cold Cape Cod waters help produce a wonderful abundance of Wellfleet Oysters, and they are prized by locals and visitors alike.

Interestingly, the Wellfleet Oyster is a transplant from Connecticut and the Chesapeake Bay.  After Cape Cod oysters were nearly fished out in the 1800s, the Wellfleet locals introduced young southern oysters into their waters.  The oysters were fattened up on sparkling clean river estuaries and then harvested and sold in Boston.  This created the first aquaculture, as it is known today. The result was a lucrative success for the harvesters and a joy to the taste buds for the rest of us.

Experts believe the cold water and the 12-foot tides combine to help make the Wellfleet oyster plump and sweet by providing them with ample, ocean-fresh plankton.

Generations later, the flavor of a Wellfleet Oyster is as distinct as Cape Cod itself.   Today, people all over the country order Wellfleet Oysters and have the oysters delivered right to their door as fresh as if they were just purchased from a Cape Cod market.

Some people are intimidated by the challenge of opening an oyster.  And everyone has their own special technique. But there some basic steps and advice that proves true.

When selecting an oyster from a fish market bin, try to pick the ones that have a very hard shell as opposed to oysters with a brittle shell.  A hard shell usually signifies a plump, healthy oyster inside. Make sure to keep the oysters cool when you bring them home.

Oyster Knife for opening oysters
Dexter Oyster Knife

Get a good oyster knife as no other kind of knife will work.  You will need one old work glove or a heavy hand towel to hold the oyster with. When ready to open, scrub the oysters under fresh running water to remove any sand but do not immerse them in water. Place them on ice or on a flat pan in a refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow them to rest.  This will allow the oysters to relax and make them easier to open.

Hold the oyster with flat side up. Place the knife at the small end of the oyster, or the heel.  Press the knife into the heel and twist. If it is too hard to open, some folks will hold the oyster and knife vertically and then tap the base of the knife handle on a cutting board or stone.  This drives the knife with a good nudge into the muscle and makes it easer to pop open the shell.  Try not to spill the oyster juices. Once open, slice under the muscle to cut the oyster from the bottom shell and place the opened oyster shell on a plate of crushed ice.  This keeps the oyster level and cold. Serve immediately.

The traditional serving is with a side of fresh lemon, cocktail sauce and horseradish.  A robust red wine compliments the complex flavor of the Wellfleet Oyster nicely.  Most adults can eat a dozen or more, so be sure to order enough.

Be sure to check out the Wellfleet Oysterfest in Wellfleet, MA October 15th and 16th.

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2016

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Great Eats: Atlantic Harpoon Swordfish Are Here

 

This time of summer the  Atlantic Harpoon swordfish are in season.  New England fishermen call it “harpoon” season.  The fisherman, or “strikers,” head out to the Western Atlantic Ocean in small fishing boats and actually hunt the ocean surface for the swordfish. When one is spotted near the surface the striker harpoons the big fish by hand.  A fish caught this way can range from 150 to 600 pounds.

A striker goes after a Swordfish on a calm day.
Each day the daily catch is brought in and sold to local markets, and the Swordfish steaks usually end up on someone’s plate in less than 24 hours, creating an incredible New England seafood experience for enlightened connoisseurs.
The practice of harpooning swordfish predates industrial scale fishing or “long line fishing” where thousands of baited hooks hang on floated lines that can be more than 30 miles long. The long-line hooks do not discriminate between the type and size of fish caught and experts say the practice in the past has depleted swordfish stocks in some places.  International laws are now in place now to limit the catch of the long lines, and these fishermen are closely monitored.
Harpoon swordfish hunters, or “strikers,” take their catch at a much slower, more selective rate.  The strikers only go after the large fish that are well past breeding age and avoid baby swordfish in the breeding grounds.  The fish are then delivered fresh daily to markets and restaurants in New England. The selective practice presents no threat to swordfish stocks.
While swordfish are found worldwide they are only in season in New England during the summer when the water is warmer.   According to research, the big fish tend to congregate where ocean waters have sharp temperature breaks (above 58°F) and where strong ocean currents meet.  This creates a turbulent environment where there is abundant food.  Along with the strikers, sport fishermen also ply these waters with rod and tackle seeking the big Swordfish.

Whether broiled, baked, grilled or on a kabob, fresh from the ocean swordfish is a favorite of first-time seafood initiates as well as seafood connoisseurs. Swordfish has a meaty texture and mild flavor.  Swordfish also offers a low-fat, low-calorie healthy choice for all seafood lovers.  Fresh swordfish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart.
Atlantic Harpoon Swordfish, fresh off the dock, is among the most popular Boston and Cape Cod seafood treats. This time of summer, many downtown restaurants feature day-boat swordfish steaks. In fact, the delicious fish is almost as popular as a specialty steak in Boston steakhouses. 

Fresh Harpoon Swordfish Marinated and Grilled

The most popular fresh summer swordfish recipe  is also the simplest. Marinated and grilled.
Here is a great recipe for a one-pound, 1 ½ -inch thick fresh swordfish steak.

Mix in a bowl:
  • a teaspoon of fresh chopped basil,
  •  ½ cup of olive oil,
  •  a small clove of chopped fresh garlic,
  •  fresh ground pepper to taste.
  •  If desired, a dash of fresh lime or lemon juice may be added.
Coat the steak and let marinate for one to two hours.  Cook on a medium-high grill for four minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch.  Only flip the steak once.  Do not overcook as the swordfish will get dry very quickly.  Remove from the grill and let stand for one minute before partitioning. Leave the skin on when grilling to help keep the fish moist but remove to partition and serve.
Today fresh Atlantic swordfish can be shipped overnight by a Cape Cod online seafood retailer anywhere in the United States.  This means anyone – from Florida to Kansas – can enjoy delicious swordfish that only 24 hours earlier were swimming in the clean, crisp ocean waters off Cape Cod.
Is it dinner time yet?

 

© LobsterOnline.Com 2016