The West Coast lends itself to certain cuisines that are tough to match anywhere else in the US (East Coasters, like my better half, will definitely argue this); in this case, seafood. Growing up in a land-locked Midwestern town, we weren't exposed to much in the seafood realm, other than the occasional Filet~O~Fish or shrimp cocktail. Mom & Dad both worked full-time while raising eight feisty Irish kids, and fresh seafood markets were definitely a rarity in the region at the time; suffice to say, they weren't exactly spending their evenings searing ten halibuts or shucking dozens of oysters. The way I look at it, this left more for me to discover as I began my independent culinary journey as a young adult. After migrating West over 15 years ago, maritime cuisine slowly started to creep into the repertoire: king crab legs, prawns, mussels, clam chowder, halibut, sole, sushi / sashimi...you get the picture. It has since become a big part of our lifestyle.
Last week, I picked up a gorgeous assortment of oysters to shoot. They were unbelievably beautiful + fresh, containing the Kumamoto, Kusshi and Fanny Bay varieties. Not wasting a moment, I grabbed one of my favorite comfort-food cookbooks in search of a recipe that would do them justice: John Besh's My New Orleans. What I love about this particular cookbook is that it tells the story behind the chef's food, the people behind the ingredients, and the way of life in the South. The book's imagery + stories are as beautiful as the recipes themselves. He takes you on a journey that really helps you to appreciate what goes into each dish. So, I put these oysters to use with Besh's recipe: Baked Oysters with Wild Mushroom Ragout.
It was great fun playing around with these beauties and even more so diving into them afterwards. Try the recipe, you won't regret it.