Whether you love or hate them, is there any food more Valentine’s than oysters? Oysters have a reputation as aphrodisiacs – Casanova used to eat 50 a day – rather excessive but what can you expect from a casanova? Scientific research actually supports the claim with a respected study showing that oyster consumption triggers the release of increased levels of sex hormones in males and females.
That aside oysters are a nutritional powerhouse as the richest food source of zinc and with one oyster having as much protein as a steak, as much calcium as a glass of milk, and a rare sea source of Vitamin C. Though now considered a luxury, they were until relatively recently street food affordable to all.
I recently had the chance to indulge in oysters to my heart and tastebud’s content at the inaugural Best Dressed Irish Oyster event hosted by the Irish food board Bord Bia at Hix Oyster & Chop House. Ireland is home to some of the world’s best oysters, sustainably produced in pristine waters. In fact it turns out many French oysters are actually grown in Ireland then “finished” in France.
After a nationwide search, 10 leading chefs were shortlisted to compete in the oyster cook-off across two heats, preparing either a hot or cold oyster dish, with points awarded for creativity, presentation, and of course taste. The judging panel featured chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix; food critic/restaurant writer Joe Warwick; chef, television personality and food writer Clodagh McKenna.
I’ve never seen so many oysters cooked in so many different ways before! Multiple foodgasm.
And the winning dishes……
BEST COLD DISH – BEST DRESSED IRISH OYSTER
BEST HOT DISH & OVERALL WINNER – BEST DRESSED IRISH OYSTER
Are oysters your food heaven or hell?