This Friday - March 31 – is National Oyster on the Half Shell Day.
Ryan Trimm, chef and owner of Sweet Grass, just added an oyster bar to his midtown restaurant – so I thought he was the perfect person to tell us about these briny bivalves.
Most Memphians are familiar with the big oysters from the Gulf. But there are lots more varieties out there. Ryan tries to bring in a selection of 4 or 5 each week from across the country.
“Memphis isn’t as familiar with the Northeast coast and those coming from Canada or even like Chesapeake Bay area and especially not the Pacific Northwest. And they are all so different. Each oyster in each region kinda has it’s own thing. The Northeast coast you have the salty briny really feel as it gets in that colder water and then as you get down in the Chesapeake Bay they are a little more buttery. And then you have your Pacific Northwest which are really small and really briny.”
And how do you eat an oyster on the half shell? You definitely don’t want to slather it with cocktail sauce!
“I think people need to understand … the cocktail sauce its just a compliment. It’s just to accompany the oyster. You are still supposed to taste the salt in the oyster. The mignonette … you don’t want to pour it on your oyster. It’s basically vinegar and shallots. You just want to dip your oyster in it or maybe take your oyster fork and just dribble a little bit of the shallots and vinegar on it.”
And what never to do … “So I have watched some people actually pour the liquor off the oyster – which makes me want to cry inside when I see it happening.”
This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!
For more information about Sweet Grass Restaurant and Oyster Bar, visit www.sweetgrassmemphis.com.