New Castle News

January 26, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Like oysters? Shirley Furst can help

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The first line in the letter from Shirley Furst, after “Hi Lugene,” was that oysters are in season.

And then I remembered the “oyster rule.”

Oysters are in season during months, which have an “r” in them. So if this particular shellfish is to your liking, you’re in luck during January, February, March and April, and then will have to wait until September rolls around.

I’m guessing two kinds of people occupy the world — oyster lovers and oyster haters.

I fall into the former category. So did my dad. But my mother and brother did not.

Even after I had moved from the house I grew up in, my dad would still call and say, “Guess what we’re having for dinner tonight?”

And out I would go to partake of the broth filled with oysters. It was almost a camaraderie thing with my father who would often toss a few extras into my bowl while my mother sipped plain broth, nibbled a few oyster crackers and watched us enjoy.

When Shirley’s letter arrived, I was reminded again of how much I miss those nights with dad. It’s been a long time since I had oyster stew and will probably be even longer since the man I married doesn’t like them, either.

But Shirley obviously loves them. She is this week’s guest contributor to Culinary Conversation and submitted a recipe for baked oysters.

The Neshannock Township resident said the recipe goes great with rice and a green salad.

“If you like oysters, you will love this dish,” Shirley wrote.

For extra measure, I threw in a recipe for crab cakes because those are another favorite of mine. I’m only assuming that Shirley likes them, too.

Baked Oysters

Dip oysters in egg milk and panko crumbs and place in soufflé dish with melted butter. Oysters can be cut in smaller pieces, if needed. Sprinkle cheese over top and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Oyster Stew

Scald the milk and cream.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan. Add oysters and its liquor. Simmer 3 minutes or until oysters are plump and edges begin to curl.

Mix contents of saucepan with the scalded milk and cream, salt and pepper.

Serve at once with oyster crackers.

Baked Crab Cakes

Melt butter in a saucepan; stir in flour to make a paste. Remove from heat and stir in the milk.

Cook and stir until very thick and smooth. Blend a little sauce into egg yolks and return to sauce; mix well. Mix in the salt, pepper, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce and the crab meat.

Form into six patties and place in a shallow baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.