The Oyster Bed

TODAY WE HONOR OUR VETERANS

Today, on the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps, The Oyster Bed would like to honor Marines and ALL VETERANS during this 2016 Veteran’s Day.

So many men and women have sacrificed so much for our nation’s people to enjoy freedom and prosperity and often times these patriots have imparted the good will of America on people of good will around the rest of the world.  Sometimes these brave men and women have also had to do battle against those around the world who fight against our country and the principles upon which it was founded.  For those warriors who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against evil, we are eternally grateful.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-49-04-am

Since photos are worth much more than words, we’re sharing just a few of Oyster Bed Co-Founder Tommy Waller during some of his many deployments around the world, which spanned Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, and Central America.

tob-blog-01

We hope this gives The Oyster Bed’s customers and friends  just a small taste of some of the ground covered prior to the birth of this great small business.  We hope and pray that the Lord grants us many more miles to cover with The Oyster Bed, many miles of coastlines protected by an ever increasing number of recycled oyster shells, and many more brave men and women who will volunteer their services in the defense of this great nation.

Advertisements

The Oyster Bed Charbroiled Oysters

With warmer weather setting in, what better way to kick off outdoor parties than with a little grilling? One of our absolute tride-and-true favorites is, of course, an Oyster Bed full of the traditional yummy goodness of charbroiled oysters. Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.10.01 PM

PREP-TIME: 20 minutes         COOK TIME: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

5 TBSP Minced Garlic

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

3 TBSP Chopped Parsley

1 Cup Butter, softened

3 Dozen Pre-Shucked Oysters

2/3 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese

2/3 Cup Finely Grated Romano Cheese

Lots of French Bread!

DIRECTIONS: 

Warm olive oil in saucepan over low heat. Add minced garlic, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and chopped parsley until well-incorporated. Pour mixture over softened butter and mix well. Add oyster meat to the Oyster Bed cooking wells and place on grill over high heat. While cooking, spoon butter mixture over each oyster.

Once butter mix is gathering in cooking well, use a long-handled spoon to re-baste each oyster. Combine cheeses and distribute liberally over each oyster. Excess butter can be reserved for sauce or used to create flames for additional smoke flavor. Make sure to save enough in the reserve well for dipping! Cook until cheese reaches desired brownness while re-basting to build flavor.

Serve with French bread, eat, and repeat!

 

Defending Our Coast One Oyster Bed at a Time

Out in the water, oysters actually grow together – that’s why they’re called “oyster reefs.” One of our biggest “WHYs” for what we do what we do here at The Oyster Bed is to raise awareness about the importance of conserving oyster shells so that they can be recycled back into our Gulf waters.  The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) is doing just that right in our  backyard!
When the adult oysters spawn, the baby oysters settle back down on the adult oyster shells – it’s one of their favorite places to grow! The new babies (called spat) like anything that is calcium based. Basically, out in nature, all the oysters “are in it together”–where the older oysters provide a safe haven for new babies that are spawned.  Only about 1% survive of what’s spawned naturally.  They settle on anything calcium based, preferably oyster shells.
SO, with that being said, THIS is one of the biggest “WHYs” behind The Oyster Bed. By buying and serving pre-shucked oysters, you are contributing to the stockpiling of the shells and ensuring that they go back to the fisherman, and ultimately, back into our estuaries.
The Result: more oysters, more reefs, more land.
2016-03-29_0001
The photo above is actually a photo of one of TOB’s co-founders, Tommy (pictured middle), along with a couple of his Marines after a USMC Dive Training. 
As we continue to grow, want to share this “product with a purpose” with restaurants and retailers across America so that we can continue to reshape our nation’s tables and coastlines … one Oyster Bed at a time!

“Panhandle to Pan” Favorite: Baked Oysters with Hot Peppered Collards

In keeping with our love for Chef Irv Miller this week, we thought we’d share one of our favorite oyster recipes from his newest book, Panhandle to Pan. Chef says this is one of his “most talked about and requested oyster recipes”–and we can taste why!

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.34.47 AM

For the Ham Hock Broth: 1 gallon water, 2 smoked ham hocks, 2 yellow onions cut into quarters, 1 celery rib cut into 2 inch lengths, 2 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped, 2 TBSP kosher salt, 3 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

For the Corn Bread: 5 TBSP olive oil (or bacon fat) divided, 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 TBSP baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups buttermilk, 3 eggs well beaten

For the Andouille Cream: 1 andouille sausage link coarsely chopped, 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp minced shallots, 1/8 cup brandy or sherry, 2 cups heavy cream, pinch of kosher salt, dash of freshly ground black pepper

For the Finished Dish: 24 Gulf Coast oysters, 1 bunch fresh collard greens, pinch of sugar (optional), hot sauce to taste, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1 shallot finely chopped, 2 TBSP good brandy or sherry, 1 pint heavy whipping cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

TO MAKE THE HAM HOCK BROTH: Combine all ingredients in an 8-quart stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 hours. Remove ham hocks from the broth, let them cool, and remove meat, discarding skin and bones. Use meat and broth as directed below. Strain and reserve the liquid.

TO MAKE THE CORNBREAD: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix buttermilk with 2 TBSP of olive oil and the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and stir briefly to combine.

Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil (or bacon fat) in a skillet. Remove pan from head and set aside until cornbread batter is ready. Hold a 10-inch round cast-iron skillet over a low flame and pour in the remaining 1 TBSP of olive oil. Swirl the skillet around so the oil completely coats bottom and sides of the pan. (If a cast-iron skillet is not available, oil an 8x8x2 inch or 1x7x2 inch glass baking dish well with olive oil.)

Pour in the corn bred batter. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean and top is golden brown. Remove and let cool completely, then crumble into fine crumbs and place in a mixing bowl. (This can be made one day in advance and stored in a sealed container until needed.)

TO MAKE THE ANDOUILLE CREAM: In food processor, combine chopped sausage, garlic, and shallots and pulse until ground. Place a thick-bottom saucepot over medium high heat and add processed mixture. Stir mixture over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add brandy and let simmer an additional 2 minutes to concentrate flavors and burn off the alcohol. Add the cream and stir mixture to blend well. Let simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until slightly thickened and velvety. Whisk the sauce frequently as mixture simmers. Add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

TO PREPARE THE FINISHED DISH: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shuck oysters, straining oyster liquor into a container, and add the shucked oysters to the strained liquid. Discard the top half of each oyster shell, but reserve bottom half and place cupped side facing up on a baking pan. (This is where, instead, we obviously use our oyster beds.)

Bring the ham hock broth back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Place the fresh collard greens on a flat work surface, use a utility knife to remove ribs from leaves, then cut the collards into 1-inch cubes. Plunge the cut greens into the broth and cook for 30-40 minutes. If greens are slightly bitter, add pinch of sugar. Add hot sauce. Strain into colander, reserving the liquid. Spread the cooked collards on a baking pan to cool slightly. Chop them small enough to fit easily in an oyster shell (or your Oyster Bed).

Finely chop the cooked ham hock meat. Place a saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the ham hock meat, garlic, and shallot. Stir mixture over heat for 2 minutes then add brandy. Let simmer, stirring frequently to concentrate flavors and burn off the alcohol. Add the andouille cream, a few TBSP of reserved oyster liquor, and a few TBSP of the collard greens pot liquid. Stir to blend well. Stirring frequently, let simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and additional hot sauce to your liking.

Fill each oyster shell (or Oyster Bed reservoir) with a full teaspoon of chopped collards. Place an oyster over each greens-filled shell, and cover each oyster with crumbled corn bread. Place the oyster pan in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove and then sauce each individual oyster with 1-2 TBSP of the ham hock-cream reduction, then place pan back in oven and bake another 4 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

An Oyster Bed Treat with Renowned Chef Irv Miller

Recently, we had the utmost pleasure of being served one-of-a-kind dishes at Jackson’s Steakhouse in Pensacola by founding executive chef Irv Miller. What made his absolutely delicious dishes even better? Chef brought them out to us on our very own Oyster Bed!

2016-03-22_00022016-03-22_0001

Not only is Chef Irv Miller a mastermind of flavor in the kitchen, he also has written a new book entitled Panhandle to Pan filled with recipes and stories unique to the Gulf Coast. We’ve whipped up several of the recipes in it at home already and are huge fans. We highly recommend the book as a staple in your own kitchen or as a great gift for anyone you know who loves to get their cook on! You can find the book, here.2016-03-22_0003If you are unfamiliar with Jackson’s Steakhouse in Pensacola, we highly recommend giving it a go next time you’re in the area!

The Gnarly on Beer + Oysters

Ever wondered which of your favorite brewskies would be most palatable to pair with a fresh serving of oysters? Us too! So we took the opportunity to do a little research, visit a local brewery, and get the best scoop for you!

For years the pairing of dark stout beer with oysters has been commonplace for the exemplary taste notes that are exuded from both. With Stouts being so lovingly appreciated by the Irish, we felt what better than to discuss the finer points of pairing beer from one of our favorite local breweries with oysters on St. Patty’s Day?

The Oyster Bed + Gnarly Barley

Co-Founder of TOB, Adam, had a blast visiting Gnarly Barley Brewery the other day and chatting with Owner and Lead Brewer Zac Caramonta about what goes into his brews and his particular love for pairing oysters with a good stout.

The Oyster Bed + Gnarly Barley

As we were visiting with Zac and discussing the realm of oysters and beer, he let us in on a little secret. Turns out, Zac found oysters completely unpalatable until he developed a genuine love for beer and decided to give them a go while paired with a quality-brewed stout.  We love his story particularly because any “foodie” knows a great pairing of certain tastes can change the way our senses react to a particular thing. So, with our love for both oysters and beer, we found Zac’s story completely AWESOME!

The Oyster Bed + Gnarly Barley

The Oyster Bed + Gnarly Barley

As Anne Becerra, a renowned Certified Cicerone in NYC puts it, “The first thing that stands out to me when I think of oysters is texture. There’s something so gentle and smooth about raw oysters and I love to eat them with a beer that offers a similar texture. For that, stouts poured on a nitrogen line are always my first choice. When a beer is poured on nitro (the way Guinness is), it’s much silkier and creamier than a typical draught beer and a stout has lovely roasty and sweet notes that are delicious with the briny, and mineral flavors of an oyster. Porterhouse from Dublin offers a few options—their ‘plain porter’ and ‘wrasslers stout,’ are great and they even make an ‘oyster stout’ that’s brewed with actual oysters, which is a terrific combination.”

Fun fact for those of you who didn’t know: A Cicerone is essentially for beer what a Sommelier is for wine. Basically a career craft beer lover. Can we all have this job?

Of course, we just HAD to ask Zac which one of his own brews he’d pair with oysters, and without hesitation, he recommended Gnarly Barley’s Korova Milk Porter. If you haven’t tasted this smooth, dark brew, we HIGHLY recommend giving it a whirl–with or without oysters. Of course, we’ll be having ours with!

Also, STAY TUNED as we will be announcing something super exciting with good food, good booze, and good people as we gather for loads of fun with an event pairing The Oyster Bed and our friends at Gnarly Barley Brewery!

CELEBRATE ST. PATTY’S DAY THE OYSTER BED WAY WITH A 15% OFF COUPON! ENTER “LUCKY16” AT CHECKOUT THROUGH SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2016 TO REDEEM.

Keeping it Festive for St. Patty’s Day with Oysters Rockefeller

With St. Patrick’s Day this Thursday, we thought it only appropriate to share some of our favorite GREEN oyster dishes with you this week. First on the list, and also included in our downloadable cookbook, a classic favorite: Oysters Rockefeller. These are incredibly quick and simple to prepare and a nice precursor to any meal.Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 9.05.46 AM

INGREDIENTS

6 Tbsp. Salted Sweet Cream Butter, Divided

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Celery

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onions

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Green Onions

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley

1 Tbsp. Finely Minced Garlic

2 Tbsp. Herbsaint**

10 Oz Of Fresh Spinach

1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp. White Pepper

2/3 Cup Bread Crumbs

1/4 Cup Oyster Liquor (Reserved)

1 Dozen Pre-shucked Oysters

1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

French Bread

Softened Butter For Spreading

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add celery, onions, green onions, parsley and garlic. Saute’ until softened – about 3 to 4 minutes. Next deglaze sauce pan with Herbsaint. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add black pepper, white pepper and breadcrumbs to spinach mixture.. Remove from heat and puree mixture in food processor. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in saucepan and add reserved oyster liquor to deglaze.

Place oysters in the cooking wells of The Oyster Bed. Top each generously with pureed topping. Spoon remaining butter sauce over topping evenly. Finish with a pinch of freshly grated parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with lightly toasted French bread and softened butter.

**Herbsaint is a brand name of anise-flavored liquor currently produced by the Sazerac Company and originally made in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Events Worth Noting: Slow Fish 2016

In the “oyster world” and especially as we are located on the beautiful Gulf Coast, it seems that we are never short of eventful happenings involving seafood. We are SO excited that this weekend an especially notable event will be held for the first time ever in New Orleans.

Slow Fish is a Slow Food event that is an international gathering of fishers, scientists, chefs, students and food artisans to address the many environmental, ecological, economic and political challenges that impact fisheries, habitats, oceans, sustainable fishers and cultural seafood systems. Slow Fish has been held every two years in Genoa, Italy. Slow Fish 2016 in New Orleans will be the first time the event will be held in the western hemisphere.983f256a2f19fc7da86ffce35109850e(Image from the Slow Fish 2016 website)

The event will take place March 10th-13th at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans and will host TONS of fabulous local and visiting chefs, along with copious amounts of great food, forums, and entertainment. One of the main topics discussed at the event will be coastal erosion. As you may know, this a HUGE why of our own mission statement hear at The Oyster Bed, so we are extremely passionate about the gathering of great minds to discuss this at Slow Fish 2016. We can’t wait to hear how these great minds will come together to discuss oyster shell recycling and supporting sustainable Gulf Seafood. If you’re looking for something to fill your belly and mind with this weekend, this is a great event to check out!

Egg-Stuffed Baked Avocados

With it being Lenten Season, we’ve been finding even more innovative new ways to cook on our Oyster Bed. This past Friday we had the family over for grilled fish and decided to get creative with some stuffed avocados as a side. Let me tell you, not only was this SUPER easy to throw together, it’s fairly healthy too!

2016-03-03_0002

If you’d like to try these out for yourself, here’s what we did:

INGREDIENTS

4 RIPE AVOCADOS

8 EGGS

1-2 FRESH JALAPENOS (depending on how much spice you like)

8 TBSPS OF YOUR CHEESE OF CHOICE (we prefer pepper jack or feta)

SEASONINGS: SEA SALT, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER, RED PEPPER FLAKES

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out a bit of the inside so that the hole is big enough to fit the toppings and egg. Lay them hole facing up into The Oyster Bed. Put a TBSP of cheese in each hole. Dice up your jalapenos and disperse them evenly into each avocado. Crack an egg on top of each. Sprinkle desired amount of sea salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes to each. 

2016-03-03_0001Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the egg white is cooked, but the yolk still slightly runny. You can also bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes–just keep checking it every few minutes to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. 

Other toppings would be great like bacon, crushed croutons, or chives. GET CREATIVE!

If you do get creative, be sure to share your Oyster Bed adventures with us on social media! You can hashtag your Oyster Bed cooking adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the tag #oysterbedathome. Who knows, we may even post your fabulous ideas, and give you credit, of course!

Happy cooking, friends!

 

The “R” Myth

Chances are, if you’re an oyster fan, especially in the warmer Southern climate, you’ve heard of the “R” rule when it comes to consumption of raw oysters. This “rule” suggests that raw oysters should not be consumed in months that do not end with the letter R–explicitly May through August. Did you know that this is actually an extremely dated rule of thumb? You can read here how it was debunked by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1964.

Most people maintain the fear of Vibrio vulnificus, which can cause sickness when a person is exposed to contaminated seafood. The common misconception with the “R” myth is that during the warmer months raw oysters are more subject to spoiling more easily in the heat of the warmer days. While this pathogen can indeed cause sickness, incidences of illness are very carefully monitored by the USDA and not very prevalent.2016-03-01_0001

Another reason behind the “R” myth is that during these months not ending in “R” wild oysters had time to repopulate. This means that during these warmer months it was understood that oysters were spawning. The truth is, spawning oysters are not actually harmful to eat, they just are not particularly tasty.

As oyster aficionado Julie Qiu puts it,”The R rule once helped to give wild oysters time to repopulate. But these days, many varieties have instead been bred to not spawn at all, allowing them to be harvested and consumed year-round.”

So, there you have it. If you have a craving for oysters in the summer, my friends, we aren’t telling you to avoid your tummy!