Oysters Are in Season

Enjoy them at home and at local festivals

There will be oysters for slurping and judging at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest in St. Michael’s this weekend.

Crabs and oysters are the culinary pride of Maryland. As local crab season ends, likely hastened by Hurricane Sandy, the winter oyster harvest has begun, with its variety of oyster celebrations and events.
    This Saturday, November 3, take a trip to St. Michaels for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest. Visit from 10am to 4pm to enjoy live music, Chesapeake fare, boat rides, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and the always-popular oyster stew competition. For $5, get a sampling mug and vote for your favorite stew. Six local restaurants compete for the title. Judging: 11am-12:30pm.
    The following week, Saturday, November 10 from 1pm to 5pm, head to South County to feast on the best of the Bay at the Deale Volunteer Fire Department’s legendary Fall Oyster Roast. Try as many oysters as you can stomach: raw, steamed, fried, puffed and stewed, plus ham, sides and beer — all for $35. Games of chance and elbow rubbing make for good times
    Over the weekend of October 20, St. Mary’s County Rotary held its 45th annual Oyster Festival. Highlights of this two-day event included the highly competitive oyster-shucking contest and oyster cook-off. Home cooks and professionals vied for prizes in three categories, with the title of Grand Prize earning acclaim and $1,200 in prize money. This year’s grand prize winner is Josean Rosado, executive chef at Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore. Try his award-winning recipe at home.

Chesapeake Oyster with Rockfish Ceviche and Cucumber Granita

10 Chesapeake oysters, cleaned
5 oz. rockfish, fillet
1 cucumber
2 oz. kosher salt
2 oz. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) or lemon juice
10 peppercress leaves
1 tsp. pink peppercorns

    Peel the cucumber, cut in half and seed. Slice one of the halves as thin as possible on a mandolin. Cut the thin slices in brunoise (very finely chopped) and place in a mixing bowl. Add the salt and let sit 5 minutes. Rinse the cucumber under running water to remove all the salt. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add the olive oil and yuzu.
    In a blender, combine the other piece of cucumber, sugar and vinegar. Blend until smooth. Drain the liquid thru a fine mesh colander and place in a bowl in the freezer. Scrape the icing liquid with a fork, continuing until solid but flaky.
    Slice the rockfish as thin as possible and mix with the brunoise cucumber. Shuck the oysters; clear the mussel from the shells. Save the oysters in a cup with juices. Clean the oyster shell in cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel.
    Place the thin slices of rockfish in the shell. Top the rockfish with the brunoise cucumber. Place the oyster on top of the brunoise cucumber. Top the oyster with the cucumber granite, pink peppercorns and peppercress.

Got a tasty tip for next week’s Dish? Email Lisa Knoll at thedish@bayweekly.com.