“Oyster” is the special food representing winter season. With its rich taste and flavor of the sea, the oyster can increase our appetite and is good cooked in a pot as well as eaten raw. Now, Mr. Kokubo, Grand Chef of “Zauo” in the Kanto Region, will guide you about the oyster-growing district and recommendable way to eat oysters.
--- Oysters have an image representing the winter season, doesn’t it?
(Mr, Kokubo) We can eat oysters all year round. Magaki (Pacific Oyster) in the winter is famous with the best season during October – December, while Iwagaki (Rock Oyster) is pretty good even in the summer.
Mr. Eiichi Kokubo, Grand Chef of Zauo in the Kanto Region. Having experienced cooking mainly Japanese food from his teenage time, he welcomes the 10th anniversary this year since having joined Zauo. His hobby is watching movies.
---Where do you get oysters from for “Zauo”?
(Mr. Kokubo) There are so many oyster-growing districts, however the taste from each district depends on the season. “Zauo is getting the best oysters in each season with a careful selection.
Currently, the best district should be Konbumori in Hokkaido. The Pacific Oyster from Konbumori has special features such as its large size and rich taste of its soft eggs. Incidentally, Konbumori is located in Senpoushi, Kushiro City and Senpoushi means “the place where small fish gather” in Ainu. As the name suggests, Konbumori is the inlet surrounded by a lot of Konbu (Kelp). The inlet with a lot of Kelp is inviting abundant small fish and plankton, which allows the oyster to grow well with its rich nutrition.
The oyster from “Matoya” in Mie Prefecture and the oyster from Iwate Sanriku region have another fine taste. We cannot curb our appetite because of its wonderful flavor of the ocean and light taste. Some people prefer a rich taste, while others prefer a light taste. It depends.
----What is the secret of stocking good-tasting oysters?
(Mr. Kokubo) I taste a variety of oysters in comparison to find the best one in that season when choosing the oysters. Furthermore, I’m trying to talk with the producers seriously about the results in that season as well as the appropriate time to stock. If the oyster would not have grown enough, some producers often reject to sell it telling me “Wait for a while!”
----Please tell us the simple recipes available even at home!
(Mr. Kokubo) The simplest cooking at home is “Microwave Oyster” as below. It’s too simple.
1. Wash the shelled oyster briefly with water.
2. Microwave them for 1- 2 minutes.
That’s all. You can open the heated oyster by hand.
Please try it with soy sauce with citrus juice or just lemon juice.
The point is to be careful not to cut your hands with the oyster shell. Furthermore, please choose the oyster with the label “for cooking with heat”, not “for eating raw” when you purchase the oyster in a supermarket. The oyster with the label “for eating raw” sounds fresher, however the oyster flavor would have actually diminished due to the sterilizing procedure. For applying heat, please choose the oyster with the label “for cooking with heat”.
---- Please tell us the recommendable “Oyster” menu at “Zauo”!
(Mr. Kokubo) “Zauo” is offering “Kakiyaki”, to cook the fresh shelled-oyster on a grill. You will be addicted once you experience the rich flavor in your mouth.
You can eat the best oyster at those times at “Zauo”.
Even if you say “Oyster” in one word, the sort and taste varies from oyster to oyster. “Zauo” offers the best oyster in the season, doesn’t it? I understand the strict selection process of the oyster when stocking, precisely based on the trustable relationship with the producers. The people that are exceedingly fond of oyster must be surely satisfied with the oyster “Zauo” offers.