Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: Oysters, a sweet gift from the Sound


Special to the Sun Herald

Oysters are best served neat.
Oysters are best served neat.

This week we are going to take a look at the delicious, and much bothered and battered Mississippi oyster. There are 14,000 acres of oyster beds off of Pass Christian, but their health is in serious question.

Katrina, the oil spill, a case of the red tide and the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway have done a lot of damage, and the state seems to be doing what it can to save the oysters, mainly relocating oysters to healthy environments, to be returned to their beds when the time is right.  Let’s hope we will have a healthy harvest one day soon.

A note to those who complain when restaurants offer oysters that are small for your taste. No restaurant seeks out small oysters, everyone wants the big boys just as bad as you do, but they have to buy what the market offers. Small oysters are better than no oysters, right?

OK, so what's your favorite way to eat these mollusks? Purists will always answer neat. A chilled oyster, relaxing on the half shell, surrounded by its own liquor, and perhaps just a hint of lemon, is one of the wonders of Gulf seafood. Don’t muddle up the delicate flavor of oysters by covering them in hot sauce or other condiments. Add just a few drops of lemon, hold them to your lips, and slurp, wow! A sweet kiss from the sea.