Monday, February 7, 2011

aphrodisiac week - day one - oysters, aw shucks!

Just in time for Valentine's Day...

This week, "Bite This! The Lonesome Road Studio Kitchen" is highlighting foods rumored to be aphrodisiacs, those lust-inspiring edibles purported to enhance romantic activities.
Truthfully, most foods with claims of aphrodisiac properties were simply deemed so because, well, they tend to look like body parts that do the deed. Bananas. Asparagus. Oysters. In their defense, there has been scientific research regarding foods historically considered to be aphrodisiacs and in some cases there is evidence to support some of the hype.
For one example: oysters. Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every morning for breakfast; did this really help to "lift his spirits" or did he just really dig bivalves? Well, there is scientific proof that oysters are high in zinc which is necessary for sperm production (this fact doesn't particularly make me feel hot and bothered, but to each his/her own). And then, there's the Dynamic Duo of Sexytown, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate! These two substances, which are abundant in oysters, have been shown to increase testosterone levels in lab rats (lucky rodents!). On the down side, they also increase estrogen as well, not exactly famous for increasing the sex drive. Oh well, I guess you can't win them all.

For those who do enjoy vaguely vaginal bivalves now and then,

try them with gremolata...

Most raw oyster aficionados like to promote the "going down" with a dash of Avery Island's best. There are other tasty choices as well... like gremolata.
Gremolata is an Italian condiment that most typically accompanies the Milanese braised veal dish osso buco. Its fresh, intense flavors of lemon, garlic and parsley are also well-suited to seafood and can be mixed into pastas, rice dishes, vegetables and salads.
Simply combine:
  • 4 tablespoons finely minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For a more "saucy" gremolata, add a bit of olive oil. You can also process or grind the ingredients for a slightly smoother texture. Some recipes use minced anchovy or capers as well. However, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper is the basis for gremolata; what you add and how you use it is entirely up to your imagination. And if oysters are involved, who knows what may happen. *wink*

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