Food Traveler Magazine Winter 2016 - Page 69

Lafayette , Louisiana True Flavor of the Sea “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” Those words of Jonathan Swift offer the expectation of something intrinsically off-putting about the act of consuming those famous mollusks. Certainly, difficulties in opening the things aside, there is no other seafood so polarizing. Some will only touch them in a cooked state, probably fried, while others know the true joy of devouring the raw bivalves from the half-shell, one after another. Thanks to that first man, or woman, we have known the true flavor of the sea. Here in Acadiana, we know the joys of eating oysters and may even be spoiled by both the abundance and quality of products in the many local harvest areas. Our proximity to some of the best oyster grounds in the world puts those of us who lust for the fresh, briny bites at an advantage. And with the advent of new farming methods, our options and consumption continue to grow. It used to be that nearly all oysters spent their entire lives in the same beds. Now, there is an increasingly popular alternative to harvesting wild oysters that may just produce more and better oysters than ever before. It’s a quiet revolution called off-bottom farming. In general, it means that the oysters are grown in baskets or cages that keep them up off the bottom of the water. Advantages to this new method include a faster growth rate as well as rounder, deeper and stronger shells, resulting in better oyster meat. No matter if you eat them fried, grilled, or raw with mignonette one thing is for certain, you will know the true flavor of the sea. FoodTraveler l Winter 2016 67