Yum Hoy (Oyster and Lettuce Wraps)

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

For a landlocked Midwesterner, I grew up with a lot of oysters.

Clog-your-arteries-creamy oyster stew was a staple over the winter holidays, loaded with pungent flavors of garlic, shallots, and — of course — a load of my favorite bivalve. These days, we Twin Cities-dwellers have the good fortune of a few great seafood joints, among them the aspiring “best in the Midwest” oyster bar at Meritage (we chatted with chef / owner Russell Klein about this venture in December) and the Coastal Seafoods-stocked Sea Salt.

As much as I love experiencing the merroir of a couple of oysters on the half shell, or indulging in a basket of juicy, fried molluscs, at times I crave nothing more than the comfort food of my childhood — one with a different kind of zip to it than a pinch of horseradish can offer.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Yum Hoy is one of the easiest dishes I know how to make — yet it packs a punch. Tinned, smoked oysters (they’re better in this dish than they might sound) are given the Thai treatment the way my aunt taught me: dressed in lime and fish sauce, tossed with onions and loads of cilantro and mint. Using a lettuce leaf as a vehicle for the mixture, add a few cooked somen noodles for balance and sliced cucumber and bean sprouts for crunch. It’s a refreshing, assertive dish that just may get you hooked.

Yum Hoy

6 – 3.75 oz tins of smoked oysters, drained
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1-1 ½ c mint, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 limes, juiced
¼ c fish sauce
2 T soy sauce
½ – ¾ t red hot pepper (to taste)
Sliced serrano peppers (optional)

Mix the above ingredients together.

To eat, arrange a small spoonful of the above mixture, some cooked somen noodles, fresh bean sprouts, and chopped cucumbers onto a lettuce leaf. Wrap it all together, eat, and repeat.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

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Maja Ingeman

The daughter of an artist and a music teacher, Maja spent much of her childhood traveling the country in a rusty old van, attempting to model all of her father’s salable jewelry at the same time, and sampling the many edibles available both on the road and at the art fairs they visited. Though she now lives in Minneapolis, the coffee addiction and love for food that she picked up en route to one of their many destinations never left her. Between marketing work in the medical device industry and poring over the Harvard Business Review, she can typically be found holed up in her kitchen, baking bread every weekend and experimenting in between.

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