The Market Report

Hosted by

carlsbad_aquafarm_oysters.jpgLaura Avery
chats with Mary Sue Milliken, co-owner of Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants, about home cooking. When New Year's Eve rolls around she stocks up at the Carlsbad Aquafarm stand at the farmers market to pick up fresh oysters and clams.

For her guests she serves a clam dip, oysters on the half shell drizzled with a very simple vinaigrette made from shallots and red wine vinegar.  To drink she likes to make blood orange margaritas -- a mixture of blood orange juice, lime juice, triple sec and a good tequila.

Clam and Onion Dip
2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 littleneck clams

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

a few dashes of Worcestershire

a few dashes of Tabasco

a squirt of lemon juice

salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet and add onions.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until golden in color, about 15 minutes.  Uncover and cook to a deeper golden brown, stirring often.  Open 12 little neck clams and cut each into about 3-4 pieces, collecting all the juices as you work.  Toss the clams into the deep brown onions and cook briefly adding the collected juices at the end.  Set aside to cool.  Mix mayonnaise and sour cream in a bowl.  Stir in cooled onion and clam mixture, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and lemon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill four about 2 hours and serve.

Copyright © 2008, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger


Hip and Traditional Oysters
We adore oysters with salsas, especially at the holidays. During the cold months, oysters reach their peak of flavor and texture. If you're timid about eating raw oysters, start with the smaller ones like Pacifics, Kumomotos, and Olympias. Once started, it's hard to stop!  For a party, it's always great to give your guests choices: serve a few contrasting salsas as well as lemon wedges and freshly ground black pepper with a variety of oysters and salsas.

Salsas provide wonderful balance and depth to the oysters' natural richness. The red wine vinegar and shallot salsa gives a sublime, "continental" touch. When we're in a particularly spicy mood, we alter that recipe by adding a canned chipotle chile to the blender, and serve this bracing salsa on oysters in shot glasses. For the opposite effect, the chunky tomatillo salsa is like having a mini "salad" on your oyster.

Oysters on the Half Shell

To shuck oysters, wash under cold, running water and scrub with a stiff brush to remove any surface sand, especially around the seam. With a towel in the palm of your hand to protect it, press shell against a work counter.  In the pointy end of the oyster, insert tip of oyster knife, gently twist to break seal, and run knife around edges until shell opens.  Discard empty top shells.  Dab oyster with tip of wet towel to remove any bits of broken shell or sand. If necessary, clean further with a pastry brush dipped in icy salted water. Shucked oysters may be kept, covered with a wet towel, in the refrigerator up to an hour.

Loosen the muscle that holds the oyster to the shell by gently sliding a knife between the two. Arrange 6 oysters per serving on chilled platters. (Or, to serve oysters extra cold, line plates with crushed ice and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Then arrange the oysters on the ice shell-side down.) Spoon about one teaspoon salsa over each oyster to cover with a thin layer.  Serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinegar Salsa

6 shallots, peeled and sliced

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Puree shallots and red wine vinegar in a blender until smooth.  Set aside.  (Do not make this simple sauce too far in advance or the delicate flavors will fade.)

Chunky Tomatillo Salsa

4 tomatillos, husked, washed and very finely diced

2 scallions, white and some green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno chile, seeds optional

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours to marry the flavors.

Copyright © 2008, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita

Serves 4
1 cup Blood Orange Jalapeno Infused Tequila (see recipe below)

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons superfine sugar, or to taste
4 slices blood orange, for garnish

4 Candied Jalapenos (see recipe below), for garnish, optional


Run lime wedge halfway around rim of 4 martini glasses and dip into sugar.  Set aside.

Combine Infused Tequila, Grand Marnier, citrus juices, and superfine sugar.  Pour half the mixture into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake until chilled, about 15 seconds.  Strain into 2 of the sugar rimmed martini glasses.  Repeat to make 2 more cocktails.  Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a Candied Jalapeno, if desired

Blood Orange Jalapeno Infused Tequila

Makes 1 bottle

1 to 1 1/2 pounds blood oranges, thinly sliced

2 jalapenos (1 green and 1 red), stemmed and sliced in half lengthwise

1 liter bottle of Herradura Silver tequila

Place oranges and jalapenos in a glass jar or container.  Pour in tequila.  Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 7 to 10 days (save tequila bottle).  Strain tequila through cheesecloth or a fine sieve and pour back into reserved tequila bottle.  Seal and store in refrigerator or freezer up to 3 months.

Candied Jalapenos

4 jalapenos, mix of green and red

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

Thinly slice jalapenos crosswise.  In a small sauce pan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add jalapenos, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  With a spatula, gently remove jalapenos, laying flat on parchment paper to dry.  Store in a sealed container for up to one week.

Copyright © 2007, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger