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“An Oyster Soiree”

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Over the weekend, I had a little oyster soiree. Now I’ll admit it, I never used to be an oyster gal. I can hear your gasps and cries through the cybersphere, but it is true. But then last New Year’s Eve that changed. I received a box from a guy who changed the way America eats seafood many decades ago, and in true form, he single handedly changed the way I eat seafood on that night. (pssst… you can read all about him in my book soon!)

The oysters he sent were called Virginicas and they were from Taylor Shellfish Farms up near Seattle. They are still my favorite to this day, even though I’ve had many others since, maybe because I associate them with that watershed moment, but I think it is because they are sweet and meaty and not very briny.

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But I decided to branch out this past weekend, because my friends at Taylor said these Shigoku were lovely, and they even came in a nice wooden box. So I was sold. I’m pretty easy to convince, just say it comes all wrapped up in a nice little wooden box and I’ll try it.

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They had a nice deep cup and were very balanced, with a kind of cucumber finish. Even though they looked on the smaller side, the cups were so deep that there was quite a lot of meat. And then they had that glycogen sweetness that I love…

Shigoku are Pacific oysters. Taylor Shellfish farms them in a small town built on a peninsula that juts out into Willapa Bay. They are suspension-grown and tumbled by tide, which means that every time the current changes they are rotated — “tumbled.” This gives them their deep cup.

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The soiree spread also consisted of some wild boar cacciatorini and some finochietto which is a salami studded with fennel seeds. They were a gift from my favorite charcuterie maker (who you will also hear all about in my book soon).

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There was baguette and double cream from my favorite bakery…

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And this insane Bernard Lonclase champagne. This was the real deal. I don’t think champagne is considered an official “oysterwine,” but let me tell you… it was perfect.

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These guys weren’t the easiest things to shuck… I’ve had an easier time with most of the others. But maybe my technique is getting rusty. Maybe I’ll have to order more for the sake of practice…

But they sure were pretty once I opened them…

Look at that lovely meat… it just keeps going and going down into the cup.

I let my friends try shucking. At some point, I decided to make them work for their food.

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But they didn’t even notice. They were in oyster heaven.

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