I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t know how my parents would react. What would my grandmother say? What would Scarlett O’Hara do? I went off to college and fell in love with a Yankee. Yep, an SEC despising, unsweet tea drinking, don’t-you-dare-put-ketchup-on-that-hot-dog man from the North.
Despite both of our general stubborn nature, we decided to make an effort to appreciate the customs, traditions, and cuisine that we each hold so dear. Stereotypes debunked, we were ready to teach each other all there was to know about our respective sides of the Mason Dixon. I wooed him with the beach. He bought me a Cubs jersey. He went to a Mardi Gras Ball. I ate deep dish pizza. Eventually, I began to understand the draw of living in a place where there are actually seasons, and he even mumbled a “Roll Tide” or two. But after a year or so of dating, I asked him to try an oyster…and that’s where he drew the line.
I guess the idea of snacking on a slimy little mollusk was too much for him to handle. After a few years of guilt-tripping pleading, I was finally able to get him to try one of my favorite coastal delicacies. His reaction? Absolute adoration would be an understatement. Seriously, is there such a thing as Oyster Eaters Anonymous, because he may need it at this point? Throughout our travels, when we’re looking to grab lunch, dinner, or even a midmorning snack, my now-husband requests—no, insists upon—oysters. Fried, stewed, or nude, he’s got to have them. Maybe it’s a result of my coastal upbringing, but I don’t mind one bit!
We’re so lucky on the Alabama Gulf Coast to have a fresh, local supply of seafood. Purists know there’s nothing quite like a raw oyster. From the Gulf to your plate, it doesn’t get much fresher than that. At many restaurants on the Gulf Coast, you can watch your oysters shucked at the bar and promptly delivered to your table. Whether you top it with hot sauce, cocktail sauce, horseradish, put it on a cracker, or squirt it with lemon, you simply can’t go wrong enjoying a plate of fresh, raw oysters straight out of the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course, raw oysters aren’t everyone’s thing. And although I think you’re missing out, I’m ok with it because that just means more for me! But seriously, I don’t judge you for it (and ain’t that sweet?) because truthfully, cooked oysters don’t hurt my feelings one iota. There are more delicious oyster dishes than you can shake a pearl at, but here’s a list of the best ones here on the Coast:
Bon Secour Oysters, Garlic Leek Butter
Topped with Romano, Parmesan, & Garlic Butter
Oysters covered with Shrimp, Crabmeat and Parmesan Sauce
Oysters, Spinach, Parmesan Cheese, and a hint of Herbsaint
Oysters served with Garlic & Butter, Proscuitto Rockefeller, Gorgonzola & Shallot, and Fontina & Jalapeno
Fried Oysters, Roasted Poblano, Brie Cheese, & Pepper Glaze