Appetite City: Pickled Oysters

Oysters. Gross.
I’m not a happy camper in this episode; I think you can tell.  Although I am always faithful to my rule of trying foods again and again, even ones I don’t like on the first taste, I have never liked oysters.
But oysters have a really fascinating history in New York. And my oyster revulsion is kind of hilarious on camera.  In the end, this week’s recipe, The Pickled Oyster, didn’t taste too bad.
Cooking up this recipes was fulfilling a personal request of Bill Grime’s to revive this 19th century favorite.  I sent a tupperware of them over to his office, but I forgot to ask what he thought.
And who knew that Mark Kurlansky looked like a salty sea captain?
Pickled Oysters
from Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cookbook, 1884
and  A Love Affair with Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson, 2007.

1 qt oysters in their liquid
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 blades mace
10 cloves
10 peppercorns
10 allspice berries
Pinch cayenne pepper

1. Shuck the oysters, saving their liquor.  Strain liquor through a coffee filter to remove sand.

2. “Place the oysters and their liquid in a large nonreactive pan and set over moderately high heat just until the liquid begins to bubble. The minute the oysters’ skirts ruffle, adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles gently, and simmer 1 minute longer.” (Anderson)

3.  Using a slotted spoon, remove oysters and place in large glass jars, leaving their liquor behind.

4. Add  vinegar and spices to the liquor.  Bring to a boil and boil five minutes.

5. Pour hot liquid over oysters.   Seal jars and refrigerate overnight.  Oysters are ready to serve the next day and up to 2 weeks