Open Season: Alabama Oysters

November 5, 2012 | By | Comments (5)
Oysters

Photo Courtesy of Missy Zak

All across the Gulf, oystermen are harvesting their first batch of the fall oysters, a crop we’ve all been waiting for. We got a start on checking out Alabama’s finest mollusks over the weekend at the 5th Annual Oyster Cook-Off at The Hangout. Raw, Rockefeller, Cajun. Dear readers, we eat them for you.

More than 50 chefs from Alabama served their finest variations on mollusks while bands including Birmingham’s alt-country Banditos¬† played in The Hangout’s courtyard. (Check this band out. Seriously.)

But back to the main course. Among our favorite oysters were those topped with local produce. Montgomery Railyard Brewing Company, opened in September, served their Oysters Rockefeller with collards and prosciutto.

Chef Wesley True (who recently opened TRUE, also based in Montgomery), served his oysters with locally grown mustard greens, pistachio and a dollop of Belle Chevre goat cheese. True, who in 2011 received a James Beard nomination for “Best Chef In The South,” said of the greens, “I got them from a farmer selling them off the side of the road.” Just how we like them.

Oysters with mustard greens and goat cheese

Photo Courtesy of Missy Zak

Alabama is the largest processor for the Eastern oyster (found on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast). And though over the past few years the industry has experienced ¬†challenges from factors like drought and oyster predators, as a region the industry is resilient, says Bill Walton, Ph.D., an oyster expert and professor at Auburn University’s College of Agriculture.

“We’re having a longer, more productive oyster season on our public reefs than we had last year, so we’re going in the right direction,” Dr. Walton says.

For that, and for the Hangout hosting an event that showcases the creativity of our Southern chefs, we’re glad.

Now, pass the beer and let us know: how do you take your oysters? 

photo 3 Open Season: Alabama Oysters

Bloody Mary Oysters by “Food Network Star” Martie Duncan, Photo Courtesy of Missy Zak

Related:
Host Your Own Oyster Roast

COMMENTS

  1. Rob Schellinger

    Tough job you guys have.

    November 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm
  2. Chefjimmyb

    I agree with Rob….boohoo!

    November 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm
  3. Rob Schellinger

    I need a hookup on that kinda work. Even if it’s just a weekend gig.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm
  4. Chris Blankenship

    The oysters were awesome! I don’t know how the judges could pick a winner. Great Gulf oysters prepared by the best chefs in Alabama equals a fabulous event.

    November 6, 2012 at 8:29 am
  5. Erin Shaw Street

    It was a great event. And if you have any recommendations on other restaurants in Alabama with oyster dishes you enjoy, would love to hear about them.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm