Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Oysters and Pearls"

Subtitled: Now I can say i've tried oysters, and I still don't like them.

Like so many other people, i've always just looked at oysters and have been squicked out.  I don't like things that are slimy, i'm not a huge fan of 'briney,' so i've always just assumed I wouldn't like them.  So this was the big test.  Oh, and i've never had caviar either - but I have picked it off of lots of things - but for some reason i'm not as scared of it (probably because I know that it basically tastes like salty fish, and I like fish now, so i'm not as concerned as I am about the oysters).

And you know what?  I can now say for sure: I do not like oysters.  Which is unfortunate given that there are like three oyster dishes left.  Luckily, I LOVE shucking oysters, so I don't think i'll mind making the remaining dishes all that much.  I know this probably makes me weird, but wedging the knife under and that 'pop' was somehow gratifying.

And if I haven't scared everyone away by thinking I am some kind of knife-obsessed freak... here is 'oysters and pearls'!

First, I shucked the oysters.  I did not get nearly as much oyster juice as I should have.  I just discovered last week, however, that my oysters were miniature compared to other oysters (my husband and his friend actually ordered oysters voluntarily at a restaurant!).  So maybe you need bigger oysters to get more juice?  I don't really know, all I know was that I ended up just adding a smidge less juice to the oyster infused cream.

Next, I started soaking the tapioca in milk.  If you are in a hurry, do this first.  I wasn't - in fact, I was really trying to delay things - so I waited a bit.

The tapioca mis:

While the tapioca was soaking, I "infused" some cream with oyster juice.  I had a couple of extra oysters, so I just went ahead and tossed those in (to make up for having less oyster juice), along with the oyster "trimmings."

Then it was time to cook the tapioca!  I basically just combined the oyster-cream with the tapioca pearls.  I have never made tapioca before, so it was really cool watching the tapioca pearls puff up as they cooked.

A closer look:

Simultaneously while cooking the tapioca, I whisked the eggs for the sabayon, and warmed them over a pan of hot water, whisking all the while.

At the same time, I whipped some cream in my mixer (which everyone has seen plenty of times, so you don't need to see it again here).

When the eggs were warm, the tapioca was thickend, and the cream was whipped (which I actually managed to time so that they all happened at exactly. the. same. time - success!), I combined (along with the creme fraiche and pepper) and poured into my mini ramekins.  I think it actually looked like it was supposed to!

Right before serving, I warmed the ramekins in the oven while making the sauce.  The butter-laden sauce (along with some super-reduced vermouth, warmed oyster, and chives).  I spooned the oysters over the top, along with some butter-sauce, and a tiny scoop of caviar (not osetra - i'm not feeling that flush these days - but I did get some good paddleback caviar which the internet swore was a great replacement for osetra).

All done!
I guess I should have started this blog by commenting on my victi... um, guests.  One person couldn't make it at the last minute, so we invited my brother in law and his fiancee, who are both simultaneously the pickiest and least adventuresome eaters in the world.  I questions husband about this invite (no, really, it would have been fine to have only five people)... but he thought it would be good for the picky eaters.  I'm not sure why he thought this, but he did, and he invited them anyways.

So, with that background, I had high hopes the butter sauce would hide the taste of oyster.  It did not.  I believe I heard gagging as they actually tried the caviar/oysters (in fact, I think BIL had never even tried tapioca!).  I get it, because I felt that way a little too.  I mean, it even LOOKS like someone blew a snot wad onto the dish before I served it (whoops, I think I wasn't supposed to mention that...).  At least I did like the tapioca and caviar, although they were incredibly rich.  Husband, and his other two friends all liked oysters and raved about it, so I really think this is a personal-preference type of dish.  Or maybe they are just better at being polite than I am!

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