shuck it

4 Jul

Over the years, the Fourth of July has undergone a transformation from National Independence Day to National Hot Dog Day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take issue with this. As I see it, there’s nothing more patriotic than dousing coals in lighter fluid, cracking open a can of Bud and getting sunburnt.

But such is not the way we do in NorCal. Armed with kobe burgers, flank steak, sapporo and bottles of chilled muscat, we arrived to Tomales Bay Oyster Farm ready to barbecue. 80-degrees and mercury rising… large groups of Asians marking down their picnic tables… brine in the air.

Once Michael carefully stoked the fire (sans lighter fluid, thank you very much), he began on the kobe burgers… “how would you like yours done?” A question far too rarely asked at outdoor cookouts (pun intended). As the premature noonday sun scorched just the tops of our shoulders, we leisurely took to shucking sacks of pacific oysters, squeezing lemons, applying squirts of shiracha and sipping on muscat from red plastic cups.

To follow, two well-seasoned pieces of flank placed low to ashy coals then raised so cobs of sweet summer corn could rest on direct heat. Next course: live mussels beard and all tossed on the grill…. decidedly the “winner” of the day. Briney and as buttery as their golden shade.

Besides corn on the cob, we rounded off the meal with a fresh, citrus coleslaw. Orange juice-based vinaigrette dressing keeps this dish light, sun-retardant, and complimentary to seafood. Cilantro and green onions add signature NorCal Asian flair.

Cabbage and Corn Slaw with Cilantro and Orange Dressing
Adapted from Epicurious

*  1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
* 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
* zest and juice of 1 lime
* 1 head of cabbage (3 lbs)
* 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut from cob
* 2 medium carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
* 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, cut into thin strips
* 6 medium green onions, thinly sliced
* 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 large jalapenos, minced

Whisk orange juice concentrate, vinegar, lime zest and juice, and canola oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine slaw mix, corn kernels, carrots, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and jalapenos in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss again and serve.

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