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Posts Tagged ‘Hog Island Oyster Co.’

Bagna Càuda Grilled Oysters

In Food, Recipes on December 30, 2010 at 9:09 am

Oh my god I love oysters. And that 18th century adage about only eating oysters in months that contain the letter “r”? Welcome to the 21st century where sustainable farming and advanced wet storage for freighting means you can enjoy oysters year round. Yes, there are seasonal crops, so do ask your fishmonger what’s best to grill, what’s best to eat on the half shell in any given month. And while now is the height of the season to enjoy Pacific oysters raw, last night I had grilled oysters on the brain. Something about the pouring rain and hot-off-the-grill garlicky oysters sounded super. Back at home, Mr. Foodinista shucked away.

First, a word about gear. We have a French-style stainless oyster knife with guard by Rösle that is ideal for smaller oysters, like my favorite Kumamotos. That said, with our monster Canadian mollusks, last night we were wishing we had an East Coast-style shucker with a long flat blade (also called a “stabber”) given the deep cup of the shell and flat top. I think I’m going to order a four-inch Dexter-Russell with a high-carbon-steel blade for Mr. Foodinista. Hog Island Oyster Company sells them online for $15.

Dexter-Russell oyster knife via HogIslandOysters.com

While Mr. Foodinista shucked, I opened up a little tin of Trader Joe’s anchovies. I keep a few of these tins on hand at all times. Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic for my starving student days and craving a sodium bomb, they stand in for lunch in a pinch.

Last night, however, a filet or three found their way into a modified bagna càuda (traditional Piedmontese warm dipping sauce of garlic, anchovies, oil, butter). I threw the anchovies, a bunch of Italian parsley and about 8 cloves of garlic into a mini food prep and chopped the hell out of it.

The mixture then eased its way into a hot bath of melted butter and olive oil in a skillet.

Ideally you would have rock salt on hand and would first sprinkle that onto a baking sheet and nestle the oysters on the half shell on top to steady them. We did not have rock salt. Next time. I spooned the bagna càuda over the freshly shucked oysters and Mr. Foodinista disappeared with the tray and grilled them over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, when the sauce just started to bubble.

My husband noticed that the sauce that had spilled over onto the pan steamed up during the grilling, and I like to believe it added a little extra loveliness.

Since there was a fair amount of the bagna càuda left, I tossed some into a wok and added a ton of spinach leaves, along with some more chopped anchovies, red pepper flakes and mint leaves from our garden. You then sauté covered, over medium heat (stirring a few times with a wooden spoon) for three minutes. Pour yourself a glass of Gavi (a Piedmontese white), sit down around the table and make a wee bit of a pig of yourself.

Beer-Battered Sweetwater Oyster Po’ Boy with Bacon Remoulade

In Food, Out of Town on December 28, 2010 at 9:15 pm

What was my favorite sammie of 2010? This one. Why? Allow these two words to sink in: Bacon. Remoulade. It’s a good thing I don’t live closer to Hog Island Oyster Company at Napa’s Oxbow Public Market or we’d be in big trouble. Since we’re among friends here, I confess that I had two of these po’ boys in as many days last week when I was visiting my parents for Christmas. My sister staged an intervention when I began making noise about returning for a third. Here’s the not-so-skinny: Four beer-battered and fried Hog Island Sweetwater oysters atop a bed of bacon remoulade on a toasted potato bun. Those sweet and briny Sweetwaters against that smoky remoulade with just a squeeze of lime juice is just about as good as it gets.

Clam Chowder Satisfaction

In Food, Out of Town on December 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Yesterday morning my sister and I ran 8 hilly miles through the misty vineyards and woods in St. Helena. We were hellbent on undoing any good we might have achieved, and so hightailed it to Hog Island Oyster Co at the Oxbow Market in Napa for lunch. The dozen oysters—Hog Island sweetwaters—would have been virtuous enough had we stopped there. But we didn’t. Instead we piled on with a pint each of Lagunitas IPA and steaming bowls of clam chowder, which consisted of Manila clams, bacon, potatoes, carrots and celery in cream. Mr. Foodinista, who did not run 8 miles, must have been experiencing fondue withdrawal from the other night. He opted for a grilled cheese sandwich featuring Cowgirl Creamery Gruyère and Fromage Blanc with housemade pickles. I may have indulged in (read: demanded) a gooey delicious bite…

Hog Wash

In Food, Recipes on August 25, 2009 at 8:14 am

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Saturday morning following a long run on the beach, I headed over to Santa Monica Seafood to pick up two dozen oysters for dinner. There, I ran into friends Anne and Dudley, who were picking up an insane amount of seafood for a paella dinner party we went to on Sunday night (more on that later this week). Back to the oysters, on offer there were Kumamotos from Hog Island in Northern California. Kumamotos are rich and buttery and just a little bit sweet (if you ever see their sweetwaters available, they’re even better—briny smokey sweet). The Kumamotos are small and a little more manageable when it comes to shucking, though I think a gloveless Mr. Foodinista might beg to differ:

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A couple years ago I got him the Rösle shucker as a stocking stuffer, but have never quite had it in me to pull the trigger on this FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR chain mail oyster glove from Moss in NY:

oystergloveYet gloveless, triumph he did over two dozen of these little guys. We cracked open a bottle of Charles Heidsieck blanc de blancs (crisp, dry with mineral notes—perfect with the oysters!) and served with my favorite mignonette, which has just a little heat from jalapeños—again, a match made in heaven with a crisp, dry Champagne. Here’s the recipe. Also, I used Vietnamese cilantro from our herb garden instead of traditional cilantro—but either way, totally addictive.

Hog Wash
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup natural rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 large Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime

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Hog Wild

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on March 2, 2009 at 8:03 am

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Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving my sister and I drive out to Hog Island Oyster Co in Tomales Bay—about an hour’s drive from our parents’ house—and get 5 dozen oysters, which we like to chase with Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs. (Whomever ends up with the unenviable task of shucking the oysters, we dub the “mothershucker.”) A few years ago, Hog Island opened up a satellite restaurant at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, but just last November they opened a third location at Oxbow Market in Napa. This is GREAT news for future visits.

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On Saturday afternoon, we stopped by the new oyster bar for a quick dozen—six Sweetwaters from Tomales Bay, six Kusshi from BC. The Sweetwaters are my absolute favorite—smokey sweet and briny. If you see them on a menu, order them without hesitation! The Sweetwaters are the ones with the fluted shell:

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Couldn’t resist a pint of Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball, a seasonal beer released each January. It’s a little bit sweet (kinda tastes like figs), and is a great match with the Sweetwaters in particular.

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Valentine’s Wine Guide

In Drink on February 11, 2009 at 12:46 am

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Whether you’re with your soul mate, first date or flying solo—particularly if you’re flying solo?—here are The Foodinista’s top five picks for what to drink this weekend.

Flower Power

A few years ago before I met the boy, I attempted to get takeout on V-Day from my absolute favorite neighborhood sushi joint, Azami—run by two Japanese chicks, who have sadly since sold it—but they were too busy serving tables of lovey dovies to help a poor girl (take) out!  sake So I swung by Whole Foods, grabbed a tsunami combo on brown rice to go, and enjoyed it IMMENSELY with a small bottle of sparkling sake that I’d gotten at True Sake in San Francisco. Try the Hana Awaka (which means sparkling flower). Perfect serving for one! $6/250ml

It’s Now or Never

The one-night stand calls for a bottle that pretends to care, but is realistically just a Machiavellian means to an end. Cava, cava, cava. It’s a budget bubbly that’s fabulously festive, is a relatively low investment, but feels exotically devil-may-care. cava I’ve been loving the German Gilabert Reserva Cava available locally at Larchmont Wine & Spirits. Oh, and it’s REALLY good! So if you actually want a second date, the German Gilabert will have them coming back for more. $15/750ml.

She’s So Cold

Is there anything more seductive than ice-cold Chablis with fresh sweetwater oysters from Hog Island? While it’s still a bit of a splurge, the 2006 Domaine William Fevre “Montmains” Premier Cru Chablis is spicy, with mineral notes, white peach and citrus—pure romance. chablis I’ve seen it around for anywhere from $30-$45 bottle. Wally’s on the Westside has it for $89.99/bottle, for which I believe the technical term is rape.

Hop on Over

The fastest way to The Foodinista’s heart is most surely with a lusty bottle of Vietti Barbera d’Alba  “Scaronne” from the Piedmont region in Italy.vietti Perfumey aromas, mineral and earthy notes with a superb grasshopper label, this wine is made from the Barbera grape, and is quite possibly my favorite go-to red and at half the price of some of its Barolo big brothers. $45/750ml

I Do!

In this economy, I feel like shelling out $350 on a bottle of anything would need to be an earth-shatteringly important event. Nevertheless, one could easily drop this on any number of bottles of Champagne from the ’96 or ’97 vintages on shelves now. But if The Foodinista had $350+ to spend, and she doesn’t, it would be on a 1973 Dom Pérignon (which I’ve longingly admired on auction lists starting at $350/bottle, and skyrocketing from there). dom I’ve been lucky enough to try this gorgeous wine on several occasions, and each time I just melt. Much like I did when I met my husband, who is also from the ’73 vintage.

Cheers to a wonderful weekend, and drop me a line and let me know what you drank!!!