It’s a great time to head to Hood Canal and South Puget Sound and start enjoying fresh oysters on the beach or at Shelton’s annual OysterFest event.
We’ve got a few ideas to get you “shell-e-brating” as well as a recipe from Xinh Dwelley to make your mouth water for some oyster love!
Xinh’s Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell
Recipe courtesy of Xinh Dwelley, celebrated seafood chef, Shelton, WA
(even the non-oyster eaters love these)
Prepare sauce in advance:
1/2 chopped red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend. Store in fridge until ready to prepare grilled oysters.
Place oysters on hot grill( 24-36 in shell). When shells begin to “pop” remove top with a heat-safe glove and top each with one teaspoon of mixture. Garnish with sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese ( about ½ cup total). Cook oysters are light brown and cheese has melted, 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
Save some Clams & Visit Mid-week
Perhaps a few oysters will suffer, but who doesn't like to save a little money?
For great deals on lodging, not to mention more selection, consider heading to the Canal mid-week to enjoy activities you will not find anywhere else. Pack up boots, buckets and license and head to parks and DNR beaches that are regularly stocked with shellfish for the taking. Yes, taking! Check the tides before you head out. Another advantage to mid-week shellfish-gathering is you'll have the beach to yourself! Visit the DFO Shellfish Safety Map as seasons are beach specific. Always Check BEFORE you dig. We've prepared a handy list of area harvesting beaches here.
Alderbrook Resort & Spa is a great place to start a OysterFest tradition. Not only can they harvest oysters right on their beach, serve some great Hood Canal oyster dishes on their daily menu in the restaurant.
Want the house all to yourself? Consider snagging one of the great rentals that pepper coastal communities and woodland oases in the area. One of our favorites is the Cedar Hill Cottage in Union. This spacious shake home (two bedrooms) is perched on the hill above Union, and although it is technically not waterfront and nestled in the woods, there are glimpses of the Canal and the snow laden Olympics. Location is everything here. A short drive to Alderbrook Resort and just a quick walk to the heart of Union with coffee and bakery items at the Union Country Store, boutique shops, and waterfront dining at 2 Margaritas.
There are some fantastic accommodations near Shelton and Allyn that put you right in the heart of South Sound oyster harvesting areas. A Lighthouse on Hammersley is a 10,000 sf low bank bed and breakfast that is just ten miles from Shelton. Enjoy spacious guest rooms all with stunning waterfront view and covered decks to enjoy boats and wildlife. See all Shelton’s area lodging here.
Heading into Shelton, stop in off Hwy 101 past Little Creek Casino & Resort at Taylor Shellfish's Retail Facility to take a look at their headquarter facility and visit their retail store. Taylor Shellfish is a huge supporter of the annual West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship (OysterFest) by supplying over 1200 oysters to the competition!
Local oysters are also available in Shelton at Smoking Mo's on Railroad Avenue. Here you will find a selection of Southern BBQ dishes as well as fresh oysters served raw in the half shell or cooked to perfection. Head upstairs for their "oyster bar."
One of Smoking Mo's most popular oyster growers is located just 30 minutes away in Lilliwaup, WA. Hama Hama Oyster Company's Store and Oyster Saloon (an outdoor restaurant) are located a shell’s-throw from the tideflats. Visit during the week to see the shucking crew in action, and ask for one of their self-guided tour maps to better explore the farm. Stop by the Saloon (Thursday though Sunday) for some great shellfish but don't miss the divine hand-packed Dungeness crab cakes. And we mean PACKED with crab! The crab cakes are also available the farm store where you can buy them to cook at home.
How ever you choose to Shell-e-brate oysters we know that you will have a blast exploring Hood Canal. Be sure to share your adventures with the bivalves with us at #wildsidewa!
See you on the beach!