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.
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.
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.