Life is an Oyster!
Belle Piccio | May 02, 2013
oysters; photo by Dustin Mijares
Oyster is a common name used for a number of distinct groups of bivalve mollusks which live in marine or salty habitats and have a rough, irregularly shaped shell. Some kinds of oysters are cooked or can be consumed raw.
It is said to be an aphrodisiac. True or not, the idea has been around for a long time. Oysters do contain: considerable amounts of amino acids that is believed to trigger increased levels of sex hormones; cholesterol; high in zinc content that aids the production of testosterone; and it is extremely rich in protein. But, it is doubtful that this was common knowledge when the aphrodisiac myth was perpetrated.
A single oyster can incubate up to one million larvae and may do so more than once a year. You can't identify the oysters by examining the shells if it's male or female. Oysters can repeatedly change its gender one or more times during its lifespan. The gonads, organs responsible for producing both eggs and sperm, surround the digestive organs and are made up of sex cells, branching tubules and connective tissue. Thus, giving rise to claims that oysters let one experience both the masculine and feminine sides of love.
Oysters have been a favorite of food lovers and romantics throughout the centuries. The oyster has maintained a timeless mystique when it comes to passion. In ancient Rome, oysters were literally worth their weight in gold.
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sprang from the sea on an oyster shell and gave birth to Eros. This is where the term "aphrodisiac" originated. The famed lover Casanova feasted on dozens of oysters every night to start his evening meal.
- It is an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamin A and B, selenium and zinc.
- A dozen raw oysters approximately contain 110 kilocalories or 460 kJ.
- It is considered the healthiest when eaten raw.
- Oysters are low in calories and saturated fats, contains omega-3 fatty acids
Avoid eating raw oysters if you have chronic liver disease, impaired immune systems or cancer because raw food may carry bacteria.
- Raw oysters should always be served chilled on a bed of ice. Thinly-sliced, buttered pumpernickel or crisp thin crackers complete the raw oyster eating experience.
- Relaxing the muscles to shuck oysters is easier if you toss them in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes, but don't forget them!
- If you have live oysters to be used in a cooked dish, rather than for eating raw, you can steam (a few seconds will do it) or microwave (about 30-60 seconds on high depending on the oven wattage) them just until the shells open. Then cut them from the shells and proceed.
- Oysters are salty by nature, so most recipes using oysters will not need to be salted.
- Choose freshly-shucked oysters for broiling, smoking, or baking on the half-shell.
- As with many foods, size and age make a difference -- smaller and younger oysters will most likely be tender.
- Most importantly, cook oysters gently to avoid turning them into a rubbery, chewy waste of good shellfish. When the edges begin to curl, they've had enough heat.
- Herbs that pair well with oysters include thyme, fennel seed, paprika, and parsley.
The Talaba (Oyster) Capital of the Philippines is Sibugay Province, Zamboanga. It has maintained its Philippine record on the longest talaba grill in the country since 2002 when it served a 2-kilometer grill during its province first anniversary.
The Seafood Capital of the Philippines is Capiz, specifically Capiz City. It has earned its title because of the abundance of its freshest seafood and very rich fishing grounds.
How to Go to Roxas City, Capiz
From Manila, you can fly to Roxas (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour).
Roxas City is the provincial capital of Capiz. It has 16 municipalities under its jurisdiction. It is 116.6 kilometers and a 2-hour ride from Iloilo City through private vehicles and buses.
(reference: dfo-mpo.gc.ca | salishseafoods.com | homecooking.about.com)