My husband: “What’s Russian about it?”
My response: “Everything!”
That was the conversation that took place, when I told my husband that an oyster shooter was my idea of a Russian themed dish. Let me explain…
I was looking for something Russian to pair with “Peter and the Wolf”. For those who aren’t familiar with the tale, “Peter and the Wolf” is a Russian folk tale about a boy who encounters a wolf. The American version of this story has Peter hunting the wolf with a pop gun. Now here’s how I translated all of that into a dish. I thought about the Russian cuisine I’ve had over the years, and there it was at every meal…vodka! Vodka led to shot glasses which led to an oyster shooter. To me it makes sense. An oyster shooter is the perfect Russian dish.
According to legend, the oyster shooter originated in the United States on the West coast. It was created in a San Francisco restaurant around 1860 by a miner back from the gold fields. Being hungry, the miner asked on the the restaurant’s waiters to bring him a plate of California raw oysters with some ketchup, horseradish, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a whiskey cocktail. After drinking the whiskey, he put the oysters into the goblet, adding salt and pepper, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and ketchup. The restaurant keeper looked on with interest. “What sort of mess do you call that, partner?” he asked. The miner responded, “That is what I call an oyster cocktail.” The next day a sign appeared in the restaurant’s front window: OYSTER COCKTAIL – FOUR BITS PER GLASS. Within a week, every restaurant in San Francisco was serving the new dish.
- 6 raw oysters (shucked)
- 6 tablespoons cocktail sauce
- 1 tablespoon shallots (minced)
- 1 tablespoon lemon grass (minced)
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon vodka lumpfish caviar
- 6 oz vodka (chilled)
- Mix cocktail sauce, shallots, lemon grass, Sriracha sauce, and caviar in a small bowl.
- Place each oyster in an individual vodka glass. Top with cocktail mixture.
- Add 1 oz of vodka to each glass. Gently mix. Garnish as desired with celery or basil, and serve immediately.