I pick fresh oysters to eat raw in the Netherlands until the longest day, then again in October. In the summer the oysters reproduce, and are then full of sperm & egg cells. The oysters are then ‘milky’ and taste creamy and fatty, which is not such a nice combination with the fresh complex-salty taste of raw shellfish. Grilled, on the other hand, they are deliciously sweet. No oyster knife needed, just one or two minutes on the BBQ. Then the oyster opens itself, sometimes spitting in protest. Pick the oysters at low tide armed with gloves, a bucket, large screwdriver and mud shoes. Always keep them horizontal with the convex shell at the bottom, even on the BBQ! This way they can be kept for a few days to a week.
Seasonings for freshly opened BBQ oysters. Chop all ingredients finely and heat in a large knob of butter.
- Garlic, anchovies, with fresh parsley.
- Garlic, spring onion, lemon juice and black pepper.
- Sweet cooked corn kernels with possibly some shreds of cooked ham.
- For an extra good smoky taste, throw a handful of oak chips on the BBQ.
- Onion stalk, raspberry vinegar, pinch of mustard, smoked mackerel and black pepper.
- Chives, tarragon, chervil, dill and black pepper (equal amounts briefly in the butter).
- A lime leaf, a small slice of galangal root, a pinch of sambal and a few drops of sesame oil.
Keep the top and bottom shells together, they form the perfect mold for a unique work of art.
Grease the cleaned dry shells. Then make some types of colored plaster by adding food coloring or ecoline to the water. In addition, mix dry plaster with pigments that are not water-soluble. Make different trays of this. Sprinkle the plaster into the water until no more plaster is absorbed. Then wait 5 to 10 minutes and stir the plaster well. Then again wait for the plaster to become lobed and dab a little of the different plaster created into the top and bottom shells, trying not to create air bubbles. A little too much plaster is good. When the plaster has the right stiffness, push the two shells together in a prying motion. Put the shells aside until tomorrow. Open the shells by tapping them with a stick or the like and let the plaster dry out completely. To enliven the colors, coat the oyster with a thick layer of clear lacquer.
I myself have used many of these oyster works for the artwork ‘O’
Tristana that will be on display at Mediamatic in Amsterdam for the next six months.