PNW Bounty! | June 29, 2017

This blog post is supposed to be about corn.  I bought corn.  I was going to make a Harissa Compound Butter for grilled corn on the cob and it would have been delicious.  However, a lovely life moment happened this weekend and I am going to share that experience instead.

One of my favorite things about the Pacific Northwest is that natural beauty is everywhere you look.  There are mountains, water, magnificent trees, and a sky that has no equal.  I mention the sky specifically because here in the greater Seattle area, our weather changes all day long.  It can be raining in the morning and sunny in the afternoon – cloud patterns change all the time and therefore our sky is ever-changing.  I have grown to love watching the changing sky.

It was a GLORIOUS day in the Pacific Northwest!  The sky was the bluest of blues with streaking white clouds barely holding their shape across the sky.  It was the hottest day of the year; in fact, it was so hot that the temperature broke heat records all over the Sound.  My friends and I took a 4-mile nature walk around Padilla Bay, about an hour north of Seattle.  The Bay empties into Puget Sound but because we are experiencing some radically low tides, there was no water, just mudflats.  We saw bald eagles, hummingbirds, pretty little yellow birds, and millions of exposed snails waiting for the tide to come back in and cool them from the sun.

Ok, back to bounty!

After the walk, we drove 10 miles up the road to Taylor Shellfish on Chuckanut Drive.  (What is a Chuckanut, anyway?)  OMG!  Taylor Shellfish is renowned for their oysters. You arrive and feel like you have pulled up to the best-kept secret!  They have a few locations around Seattle but the real treat is to go to where they grow and harvest these prized delicacies. I have written about the bounty before but because we have farms, vineyards, ranches, and some of the most diverse and plentiful waters in the country, the food here is a celebration!

It is simple and without pretension.  There are outdoor grills for your use.  Round picnic tables right on the Bay with thousands of oyster shells underneath.  Inside there are 8 different kinds of oysters to choose from based on what was fresh and brought in that morning.  They have smoked fish, Dungeness crab, smoked oysters, the BEST pickled herring in the world. Oh, and beer and wine available for sale.  We picked up a little bit of everythingsome crackers, a cold bottle of rosé wine, and three dozen of the freshest oysters EVER!

Taylor is not for the faint of heart – this is true rustic bliss.  There are no plates, no utensils (except for the loaned oyster knife tethered to a galvanized pail) and after you toss back one of their beautiful oysters, you just chuck the shell onto the pile helping to create the floor.   If you have never eaten an oyster, they are hard to describe.  Yes, they are kind of slimy.  The texture is cold, soft, a little buttery, and still has a slight firmness to it.  They taste like the sea but not low-tide, more like salty and sweet at the same time.  If you want to try one, my best advice is to start small.  Try a Shigoku or Kumamoto variety.  They are briny and sweet with a really pleasant texture.  You can squeeze a little lemon or mignonette on it but I love them au naturel.

I am not including a picture of what our table looked like after our feast because frankly, it wasn’t my proudest moment.  We were full and happy, in a seafood-induced food coma, but the carnage was real.  Seafood Nirvana!