Tomales Bay, that is. Today found four of us on Tomales Bay, with some unlucky oysters and clams, several different sausages, a couple of different sauces and some beer. It was a beautiful day to be waterside at The Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Kevin has prepared a mignonette of some form, along with some "Rockefeller Mix", some Tabasco and some Chinese BBQ sauce. The plan was to just hang out, enjoy the day and play around with food. This is always a good plan.
Bag of Smalls
Naturally, we started with just popping them open, adding a little lemon, Tabasco and some of Kevin's Mignonette. Raw oysters from Tomales Bay are always sweet and mild. From there, we started some charcoal, and started roasting things. Some oysters were filled with the "Rockefeller Mix" and roasted on the fire, then I arrived and more of the same occurred.
Some sliced Portobellos and sausages were then onto the grill, which was a fortunate thing, as these make a great complement to oysters, and to the clams that were soon to follow. We actually coated the mushrooms partway through with some Chinese BBQ sauce, which comes in a large tin, and appears to be a mixture of oil, ground dried fish and roasted shallots. Intense, to say the least, it melted onto the mushrooms and tripled the umami. Then the clams were dumped onto the grill.
The Mixed Grill
And here we have a mess of food, the mushrooms just about done, the clams popping, some of the filled oysters roasting and of course, the sausages. Everything just sort of trickled off of the grill over the period of an hour or so, the open spaces filling just as slowly. The clams made a great complement to the sausage, a classic pairing of briny clam and salty pork, if you slid a bite of mushroom in there, you have an 'off-the-grill' version of a Classic Chinese dish I know as Clam Sycee.
I really enjoyed the day, and that is always enough, to be with friends, to meet some new people, eat some good food, that is always a good day. Interestingly though, joining my friends Kevin, Jason and I were a couple of guys from 'over the pond'. And they brought up an interesting point. They mentioned the fact that they couldn't believe that we could get so many oysters from such a small bay. In explaining to them about the bay, it reminded me of what an amazing location the Bay Area is, and really, how we benefit so much from living here. It is easy to take for granted, until a person with a new viewpoint reminds you of the great resources we have around us.