Coming Out of My Shell
Oysters Prove to be the Perfect Oceanside Treat
Written and Photographed by Alycia Chrosniak
When it comes to food, I base a lot of my choices on texture. Thus, oysters were something I definitely never planned on touching in my lifetime. Honestly, they just looked slimy, and the concept of swallowing them never sat well with me. And then, about three years ago, I was at The Oyster Club in Mystic writing a story on its chef, James Wayman. When we were finished, he invited me and my colleague, Jeremy, to sit down with him for lunch, and he placed a dozen oysters before us.
Now, I have this rule: when a chef offers me something, I have to eat it. If someone takes the time to prepare food for me, it would be impolite to not at least try it. Right? So there we sat. I didn’t know what to do; I literally had zero idea how I was even supposed to go about attempting to eat these oysters.
As I began to stress about how to handle this, Jeremy suddenly blurted out that he had never eaten an oyster before. Which was a godsend, because it meant that I didn’t have to admit that I had never had an oyster — and that James would then show Jeremy how to properly eat one. So I watched James demonstrate, proceeded to make fun of Jeremy for never eating an oyster before, and then picked one up and threw it back like I had been doing it my whole life. And let me tell you how mad I was that no one had peer-pressured me into eating one sooner. I’ve eaten many since.
While you can bake, broil or grill them, I don’t think there is anything better than oysters on the half shell on a warm summer day while overlooking the ocean.
The following recipes are a collection of condiments that I make to go along with my oysters when I’m feeling fancy. They’re a nice departure from the traditional cocktail sauce and shallot mignonette and will dress up any occasion.