Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain Oysters are a true western treat - one that many people are happy to try once and leave to the locals. To acquire these delicacies, you have to be invited to a branding or have a good friend who is and will bring you some oysters. If you go, the best bet is to carry the bucket for the castrator; this gives you a moral claim on at least some of the harvest.

To clean the oysters, hold them by the cord end and push the oyster toward the end of the sack. With a sharp knife, carefully slit the sack and pop the oyster out. Remove the cord down the side of the oyster and cut off the "stem". Place in cold water until ready to cook, or cover with water and freeze for later use.

A favorite branding trick is to cook a fresh oyster on the branding-iron fire for immediate consumption, but they are best fried. Add salt and pepper to flour in a shallow bowl and roll the oysters in it. Heat some lard or shortening in a skillet until hot, then add the oysters; shake the pan or stir to brown the oysters on all side. As they cook, any oysters that were nicked in the cleaning will "bloom" and look odd, but they are still good to eat. Eat while warm. They taste more like a mild liver than chicken.

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