I thought summer was supposed to be the time of year to kick back, downshift a bit, take time to smell the flowers and exhale. So far my summer has been quite the contrary. These past few weeks have been a wild ride, literally. It all started with “Two Chefs, One Amazing Race” and it seems that I’ve been running with my hair on fire ever since.
“Stop giggling little chef, it’s an expression and yes, thanks to you, I’m fully aware that I don’t have much hair left these days. Ha! Ha! Very funny! One more wisecrack and you’ll find yourself cleaning the hoods and grease traps!”
Anyway, over the past two weeks I’ve spent a considerable amount of time at the gym, lost ten pounds, attended my first ever “Tweet Up” with the folks at Patch.com where I met Allie the owner of Café Firefly, catered a dinner party consisting of six amazing courses for some adventurous foodies, started an Affair (settle down it’s not what you think…although have you heard about it?) and managed to keep a handle on the day to day operations of my very busy kitchen.
I know that someday soon things will settle. I look forward to the day when I have nothing to do, no recipes to write, no menus to design, no food orders to place and I get to be someone other than Chef Aaron. When that day comes, I already know how I’ll spend it. I’ll probably stroll for some coffee in the morning, get caught up on my Food and Wine magazines, stop by the gym for a workout, settle myself in a lounge chair at the pool to get rid of my embarrassing chef’s tan, (it’s like a farmer’s tan but with longer sleeves) pick up a few bottles of wine and text a few friends to inform them that I’m cooking!
“What am I preparing you ask, little chef? Your favorite!”
Oysters with a sweet pepper and Serrano chile salsa
“And because of that outburst of laughter at my embarrassing chef’s tan comment, guess who gets to do the shucking? You guessed it little chef, you!”
To get started:
24-fresh oysters. Find a reputable fish guy who gets them in frequently and purchase them the same day that you plan on preparing them. Muy importante!
2-red bell peppers, finely diced. A brunoise is what I’m looking for. Think of a very small cube and then cut them smaller. Very important!
2-yellow sweet peppers, finely diced once again.
2-Serrano chile peppers, finely diced. Sensing a theme here?
4-cloves of garlic, minced
½ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped.
The juice of three limes
In a small mixing bowl combine the perfectly diced peppers, Serrano chiles, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can do this a day ahead of time. The flavors will only get better when they have time to get to know one another!
Once you have successfully shucked your oysters and by successfully I mean remove the top shell with the proper oyster knife and separate the oyster meat from the adductor muscle. Might I also recommend this? Place a cloth towel down on your workstation. Set the oyster on the dry towel, fold the towel over the oyster shell and then begin the process of managing your oyster knife through the shells. The dry towel will prevent the oyster from slipping and sliding across your station. Be very careful and only use an oyster knife, as any other knife is way too dangerous. Trust me here. I have many stories of how other utensils have gone very wrong!
To plate. Spoon the salsa over the half shell of the oyster. Transfer a few handfuls of ice from the freezer into a blender or food processor and pulse until the ice has become crushed. In your finest white-rimmed bowl, place the crushed ice in the center. Next, gently arrange your dressed oysters around your little glacier. Finish the presentation with a dusting of sea salt and enjoy with an herb infused Sauvignon Blanc. Just a suggestion!