Shucking oysters on Tomales Bay

September 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nancy Longo recently visited restaurateur Pat Kuleto's newest project, Nick's Cove on Tomales Bay, an area known for their oysters. He shares some tips on how you can serve them at home.

Tips on how to shuck an oyster:

  • Use a towel to protect yourself.
  • Start with cupside down, flat side up.
  • Put your thumb closest to the oyster.
  • Find soft spot with knife to pop shell off.
  • Cut the muscle inside.

Tips on how to pick out fresh oysters:

  • Know your supplier
  • Know when the oysters came in
  • Smell them
  • If they've begun to open at all, don't buy them.

Barbeque oyster recipe (adapted for home cooks):

For Garlic, parsley, lemon butter:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon (grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in food processor, adding parsley last. Spin until well mixed. Alternatively, soften butter to room temperature, finely chop garlic, parsley, and mix well in bowl.

For Barbeque sauce:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Serrano chili, seeds removed, diced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup coca cola
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • Salt, pepper

Cook onions, garlic, Serrano, until browned. Add bourbon, reduce by 1/2, add coke, add ketchup, tomatoes, and rest of ingredients. Cook for about 30 minutes on low heat. Put all ingredients into blender, blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To combine: Shuck one dozen oysters (we use Drake's bay smalls), and put them on the grill. To each oyster add about 1/4 teaspoon of garlic butter, and ½ teaspoon of barbeque sauce. When the butter and sauce begin to bubble, take off the grill and eat immediately

About Nick's Cove:
In 2000, Pat Kuleto and partner Mark Franz purchased Nick's Cove on scenic Tomales Bay. A labor of love, this special project will restore the historic 100-year-old Nick's Cove restaurant and its bayside cottages with all the care and attention to detail for which Pat is famous. Opening in 2007, Nick's Cove promises to emerge as one of the most cherished destinations on the California coast.

23240 Highway 1
Marshall, CA 94940
1-415-663-1033
www.nickscove.com

About Pat Kuleto:
With a career spanning more than 35 years, Pat Kuleto has revolutionized the field of design and established himself has one of the world's most visionary restaurateurs. Innovative and oft imitated, Pat's name exploded onto the scene in 1985 with the creation of San Francisco's beloved Fog City Diner (his 110th design) and almost single-handedly established restaurant design as a specialty in its own right. Since then Pat has helped craft over 170 restaurants including Atlanta's Buckhead Diner, Chicago's Papagus and San Francisco's world-renowned Postrio.

Over the years, Pat Kuleto's name has become synonymous with excellence. A leader in the hospitality field, in 1999 Pat won Bon Appetit's Food and Entertaining Award for Best Designer and was honored the following year by Time magazine as one of the "Top 100 Innovators" in its 2000 Millennium issue. For the man who claims he was born with a building permit, not a birth certificate, the expectations for every new project run high. The driving force and culinary entrepreneur behind several of the Bay Area's most revered dining destinations.

More of Pat's Projects:

Boulevard
Pat opened Boulevard in San Francisco with chef Nancy Oakes. With its intimate Belle Epoque aesthetic and remarkable Oak's inspired cuisine, Boulevard has become an American classic. Selected as the Bay Area's favorite restaurant by the Zagat Survey for an incredible seven straight years, Boulevard raises the already high bar in a city famed for its restaurants.

Farallon

Continuing to co-create some of the Bay Area's most beloved and visually captivating restaurants, Pat and chef Mark Franz, of Stars restaurant fame, opened Farallon near San Francisco's Union Square. Drawing on their mutual love of the ocean, Pat designed a whimsical and seductive undersea fantasy to match Franz's inspired "Coastal Cuisine."

Jardinière
In the same year he opened Farallon, Pat collaborated with chef Traci Des Jardins, known for her work at Rubicon, to open Jardinière. Housed in a landmark building in San Francisco's Civic Center neighborhood, Jardinière showcases sophisticated, award-winning French-California cuisine served in a celebratory Kuleto-designed environment that is dramatic and sexy, yet warm and inviting.

Kuleto Estate Family Winery
With the founding of Kuleto Estate Family Winery over a decade ago, Pat created the perfect union of his love for food and wine. A devoted winemaker for 25 years, and a champion of the life well lived, Pat established Kuleto Estate on a 761-acre property located in the mountains that form the Hennessey Basin overlooking the Napa Valley. Marrying the eye of a master designer and the heart of a vintner, Pat has sculpted a world-class winery and an idyllic Tuscan-style home amongst the surrounding ranch and vineyards. Crafting an acclaimed portfolio of robust mountain-grown wines including opulent Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Chardonnay, Pat's sumptuous and structured wines pair effortlessly with good food and great company.

Martini House
Together with former Campton Place chef Todd Humphries, Pat opened Martini House in St. Helena, inviting both locals and visitors to enjoy a quintessential Napa Valley food and wine experience. With a world-class 700-bottle wine list that complements a menu based on the best-loved foods of the wine country, the highlights of Martini House include hand-built fireplaces, an open staircase that descends into the wine cellar, and outdoor garden seating around a 75-year-old fountain.

Rincon Park
After a seven-year, San Francisco-wide search for his next restaurant venue, Pat found just what he was looking for in Rincon Park, an incredible site offering breathtaking waterfront locations for not one, but two restaurants. Opening in 2007, these two restaurants will offer a playful land and sea culinary yin and yang. Working with beloved Bay Area chefs Jan Birnbaum and Mark Franz, Pat has created two stunning venues, "Epic Roasthouse" and "Water Bar." Tied together by a European style piazza with 160 seats for outdoor dining, this inspired project is already one of the most talked about culinary debuts in decades.


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