Scenes from an Oyster Roast
By Robin Gibson
The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster. -- David Hume
Scottish philosopher David Hume was right when it comes to the oyster's popularity in the Lowcountry. Winter brings with it the time-honored tradition of communal gatherings centered around the shellfish known as The Oyster Roast. This ritual is as iconic to the region as the smell of pluff mud is to our noses. And for the 34th year, the Granddaddy of them all, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival sponsored by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association took place January 27, 2017, at Boone Hall Plantation. From the tailgating atmosphere to the dedicated shell recycling, these pictures tell the story of an ardent love affair and obsession with the all-important oyster.
Shell recycling is an important part of the oyster's life cycle. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources manages a shell recycling program whereby shells are reintroduced to salt water to improve the natural habitat. To learn more about the program and its environmental benefits, visit their website.
Charleston's Post and Courier is reporting that South Carolina's shrimping season may be off to a great start thanks in large part to a mild winter. The next few weeks will reveal more when waters are expected to reach their peak temperature of 70 degrees for local shrimpers. Are you a fan of this popular Lowcountry staple? Read on for tips on how to prepare a simple version using your own seasoning.
Fresh Catch Peel and Eat Shrimp
Fresh unpeeled shrimp
Crushed Red Pepper
Bring water to a boil and add unpeeled shrimp just long enough for them to turn pink. As soon as they do, quickly remove them. While hot, add melted butter to serve as a base. Combine with crushed red pepper and garlic to taste massaging the shrimp gently to blend butter and added seasoning.
This quick and easy recipe yields a rich, decadent flavor that can be tailored to please any palate. Cooking shrimp unpeeled is, perhaps, the best way to lock in the briny burst of flavor associated with the popular shellfish. It also helps prevent over-cooking, which shrinks them into a rubber-like consistency.
Here's to South Carolina's upcoming shrimping season. May we all enjoy its bounty. And don't worry about making a mess. The best meals here often do.