Wellfleet Oysters are the Best in the World!

We are having a family feast for Labor Day 2017.  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.

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 14th and 15th.

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2017

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Day Boat Sea Scallops a Cape Cod Seafood Treasure

 

This time of Summer the Cape Cod “Day Boat” fishermen are arriving back in port each day carrying their precious catch of seafood treasure:  the tender, sweet Cape sea scallop.  All summer these small commercial vessels – or Day Boats – harvest from Cape Cod and Nantucket Bay the precious Cape sea scallop that locals love.
Chef’s all over New England prize the delicate, Cape sea scallop for its exceptional delicious flavor and plumpness.  The day boat scallops are a true renowned delicacy.  No where else in the world can these clean, sweet, succulent scallops be found.
From June or July through early Fall the day boats will harvest the wild-caught scallops from the pristine Cape Cod and Nantucket bay waters and sell them straight to local buyers where the scallops are processed and sent out to fine restaurants and seafood retailers. As popular as Maine Lobster this time of year, the scallops are so prized by locals, that most Cape sea scallops never get the chance to leave New England Cape Cod and Boston restaurants have a long standing tradition of offering freshly caught Cape sea scallops. 

Provincetown Cape Sea Scallops. Source WorldtoTable.com

So what is the solution for those seafood lovers that can’t get to Cape Cod this summer?
  
Thanks to a Cape Cod online delivery service – Lobsters-Online.Com  fresh day boat Cape scallops can now be ordered and shipped overnight anywhere in the country.
The Lobsters-Online.Com fulfillment facility — located in Bourne, Massachusetts on Cape Cod — processes the day boat scallops by hand.
“Our sea scallops are true “day boats” sourced daily from Provincetown Harbor on Cape Cod,” said Dan Brandt, the Lobster Trap Company domestic seafood buying manager.  “The scallops are all natural, shipped dry and chemical free. They are hand shucked and shipped within 24 hours.  Our scallops are never processed, treated, or frozen ensuring they are as fresh as if you caught them yourself!”
These sea scallops are so flavorful on their own that local chefs will tell you that if you add more than two ingredients to your recipe, “it’s too much.”  Cape scallops can be baked, broiled, sautéed or fried.  Many folks simply use a hot pan with a bit of butter. Just pat the scallops dry and drop them in a hot pan and let them sizzle for a minute. (Careful: the scallops cook really fast.) 
Indeed, the day boat scallops are so highly prized by locals that they are celebrated each September at the Cape Cod Scallop Fest on Cape Cod.   This year’s event begins Sept. 22, 2017 and will be held at the East Falmouth Fair Grounds. More than 55,000 people are expected to partake in sea scallop dinners, raw bars, craft shows and non stop music. 
© LobsterOnline.Com 2017

Enjoy a Traditional Steamer Clam Recipe From Cape Cod

The Maine lobster clambake with freshly harvested steamer clams is one of those wonderful summertime dinners that locals enjoy up and down the New England coast. But for many people, a basket of freshly cooked steamers can be a fabulous dock-side lunch or dinner all by themselves.

The steamer is a soft shell clam known by many names. Steamers can be called the Ipswich clam, the long neck clam, the belly clam, the fried clam and other not so flattering terms. The shell is soft enough to break with your fingers. Steamers are readily identified because the long neck, or snout, stick out of the shell. They are harvested from saltwater sandbars and saltwater mud flats. The clams live in the sand just below the surface and are famous for “squirting” water when people walk by, making them easy to find.

Freshly cooked steamer clams on a plate
Fresh soft shell steamer clams

The best soft shell clams are still harvested by hand and are usually available year round, except when the flats freeze. They are sold daily to markets and stored in mesh bags in large, airy coolers. Although easy to prepare, it is important to follow some basic steps.

Ipswich Steamer Clams Recipe Popular in Boston and Cape Cod

Traditional soft shell steamer clam recipe serving two to four people

Cleaning the Clams:

At least one hour before cooking, place the clams in a clean sink (no soap or other residue) and just cover the clams with cold water. Add two drops of white vinegar to the water to help the clams expel any sand they have in their shells. Stir the clams gently and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the sink flushing any sand residue. This time without vinegar, cover the clams with cold water again, gently stir, and let soak for five minutes. Drain. Discard any clams with broken shells.

steamer kettle for lobster and clams
Traditional kettle for steaming clams

Ingredients:

White vinegar
Four pounds of freshly dug steamer clams
2 large stalks of fresh celery
2 medium yellow onions
1 stick salted butter
1 fresh lemon

Steamer Clam Preparation:

Clean steamer clams with white vinegar as described
Cut celery stalks into two inch pieces
Cut onions into two inch quarters
Cut lemon into ¼ size wedges
Melt butter and place in ramekins
Add water to large steaming kettle or lobster pot 1/4th of the way up

Cooking Steamers:

Bring to roiling boil
Place steamers, onions and celery into pot at the same time and cover
Gently stir clams twice
Cook for 12 minutes until the clam shells open (do not overcook)

Serving:

Drain broth from the kettle into ramekins.
Squeeze lemon wedges into melted butter
Remove clams from kettle and discard any unopened shells
Serve immediately

Note: Dip to wash clam in broth and then use the fingers to remove the membrane covering the neck. Most people will eat the entire clam, while some leave the neck. Dip clam in the melted butter and enjoy.  As an aside, don’t forget that day boat scallops are now in season and can be ordered for home delivery.

Recipe courtesy Aimee C. Nichols, private chef.

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2017