Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snacking State-by-State: Delaware II - Gettin' Raw (with Oysters)

As you may recall from the previous post - and from many a visit to this state that has such a massive coast - seafood is a very important part of eating in Delaware, as anyone who has visited the state will attest to. I tried to find a good recipe to showcase the seafood of Delaware and Delmarva.

Snacking State-by-State: Delaware

Official Name: State of Delaware
State Nicknames: The First State, The Blue Hen State, The Small Wonder
Admission to the US: December 7, 1787 (#1, baby, and don't you forget it)
Capital: Dover (2nd largest city)
Other Important Cities: Wilmington (largest), Newark (3rd largest)
Region: Mid-Atlantic, South, Northeast; South Atlantic (US Census)
RAFT Nations: Clambake
Bordered by: Pennsylvania (north); New Jersey, Delaware Bay & the Atlantic Ocean (east); Maryland (south); Maryland & the Mason-Dixon Line (west)
Official State Foods and Edible Things: Blue hen (bird); Weakfish (fish); strawberry (fruit), milk (beverage); peach pie (dessert)
Eastern oyster (shellfish)
Some Famous & Typical Foods: oysters, clams, blue crabs, fish (bluefish, weakfish), lobster, chicken, peaches, Dogfish Head beer, strawberries

I wanted to try this wonderful Delaware Crab Puff recipe from Fenwick Island - showcased in the American Lighthouse Cookbook by Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson (also on Google Books). As delicious and easy as this blue crab recipe sounds, I did not feel like putting out the expense for even half a pound of crab meat - the cheapest I found from the Chesapeake was about $10, on sale, again for half a pound.

So I got lazy. I got real lazy.

Recipe: Oysters on the Half-Shell

This is really difficult. Here's what you need:

Yes I bought these back when there was still all that snow. I write these posts a few weeks ahead of time. By now I'm probably writing my Georgia post.

* oysters, in the shell - and alive (Quick! Don't tell PETA!) - I found oysters on sale at Wegman's for 99¢ each
* Tabasco sauce and lemon wedges

Here's what you do:

Use your oyster shucking knife to pry open each oyster, usually somewhere near the joint (yes, I've done this before).

Some are easy to open...

...and some are not so easy to open.

Place them lovingly on a plate, douse each one with Tabasco and/or lemon, and gulp it down. Make sure there are no little bits of oyster shell going down with it.

Some people are not raw oyster people. I am happy to say I am a raw oyster person. I love the things. If you're not, you can pan fry them, put 'em in a pie, deep fry, tempura fry (that's a nice twist), put 'em in a dressing... The possibilities are endless. What better thing to eat while whiling away the humid summer evenings on the porch of a Rehoboth Beach guest house, or restaurant, or bar (preferably one with as few douchebags as possible), with a bunch of raw oysters, some Tabasco, a little lemon, maybe some Old Bay and the Dogfish Head of your choice?

Oyster liquor washed from my hands, I am ready to move on. Alphabetically, the next state in my list is Florida. But hold on just a bit! Before we get to the land of key limes, conch fritters and Cuban sandwiches, we have to make a detour. You didn't think I would forget the Nation's Capital, did you? Of course not. I'm heading straight through the District of Columbia, no MARC Train necessary.


Delaware Guide. "Delaware Food." Delaware Guide, date unknown. Copyright 2004-2011, IIWINC (Interactive Internet Websites, Inc).

Delmarva Poultry Industry. "Easy Baked Chicken." Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., 2011.

Epstein, Becky Sue, and Ed Jackson. The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America's Shorelines. Cumberland House: Naperville, IL, 2009. Portions also available on Google Books.

Hense, Zina. Delaware Fresh Seafood (guide). Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in cooperation with the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistical Program (ACCSP), 2008.

Higgins, Vanessa. "Peach Vinaigrette Salad Dressing." Local Foods, date unknown. Copyright 2011,

Jennie Robillard. A Collection of DelMarVa Recipes. Eastern Shore Arts & Crafts Center: Princess Anne, Maryland, date unknown.

Some information also obtained from Wikipedia's "Delaware" page and other pages, and the Food Timeline State Foods webpage link to "Delaware”.