A Merely Good Oyster Pie That Tastes Just like the Chesapeake


At Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, you’ll order dishes that can make you need to level your finger and pull out the digital camera: bone-in ribeye served with crab imperial; flatbread unfold with ramp-peanut pesto; wood-roasted oysters; tiny candy potatoes that seem like giants’ toes!

(Disclaimer: I grew up in Baltimore and I like candy potatoes. I additionally had my sixteenth celebration at Woodberry Kitchen. However I’m not biased. These small candy potatoes are a sight to behold.)

However once I requested chef-owner Spike Gjerde for the recipe that speaks to the philosophy of his restaurant (and profession), he instructed me that it’s not a show-stopping roast however a relatively humble oyster pie.

The meals of the area, says Spike, may be articulated within the phrase “a delicacies of surpassing plainness” (that line comes from Bernie Herman, a author who paperwork the traditions of the Decrease Jap Shore and Northern Virginia).

“It’s such a low bar—a humorous place to start out. And the oyster pie comes from that custom of cooking with a comparatively brief listing of components and seeing what you are able to do with them,” Spike instructed me.

That custom of plainness (or, in additional a flattering gentle, simplicity) signifies that Spike and his workforce can each broaden on the important recipe, and honor its roots.

To broaden, they make a whole-wheat puff pastry, a mirrored image of Spike’s first skilled cooking expertise within the pastry kitchen of Pâtisserie Poupon, relatively than a conventional pie dough. (The recipe he has shared here, nonetheless, makes use of a rye brisée, for the sake of simplicity for a house prepare dinner, although you could possibly use store-bought or selfmade puff pastry as an alternative.)

The Cheater’s Pain-Free Puff Pastry
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To honor, Spike throws in just a little little bit of fish pepper for a kick of warmth. “Fish pepper” just isn’t a humorous typo: In line with Garden Betty, the fish pepper is an albino mutation of a Serrano or a cayenne that was in style among the many African-American communities within the Chesapeake area within the 1800s. They’d mix the white pepper into the creamy sauces that served fish and shellfish—therefore its title—as an invisible supply of fireplace. However when the pepper, grown solely by black farmers within the Mid-Atlantic, went out of favor within the early twentieth century, it was almost misplaced.

A 12 months or two after opening Woodberry, Spike learn concerning the pepper within the works of culinary historians Michael Twitty and William Woys Weaver and began asking round, seeing if anybody may develop the plant (Woys Weaver had made the seeds accessible via the Seed Savers Alternate in 1995). One farmer began rising them within the metropolis and, as Spike put it, “they had been simply as I had hoped”—spicy with only a trace of sweetness.

Lately, the cooks at Spike’s restaurant use the pepper contemporary when it is in season, and so they dry it, grind it, and switch it into scorching sauce in order that they will prepare dinner with all of it 12 months spherical, too.

“It’s one of many coolest issues we’re doing,” Spike says of Woodberry’s efforts to assist the planting, harvesting, and consuming of the area’s indigenous vegetation. (Proper now, they’re partnering with close by farmers to supply locally-milled flour.) There was a time, earlier than the commoditization of the meals system, when cultivating the fast ecosystem and crossing native vegetation to get the best-tasting varieties mattered extra to folks.

As for the oysters, they arrive from sustainable oyster farms within the Chesapeake Bay. The choice to assist oyster farmers (as a substitute of shopping for wild oysters which have been caught relatively than raised) was one of many first Spike made when sourcing for Woodberry. “The position that oysters play within the ecology of the water high quality is simple.”

Apart from, if not for these oysters, there could be no oyster pie.

Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie

  • 2

    sticks chilly butter, grated on a field grater

  • 2

    cups rye flour

  • 1

    teaspoon salt

  • half of

    cup ice water

  • 1

    teaspoon cider vinegar

  • 2

    cups heavy cream

  • half of

    teaspoon salt

  • 1

    dried fish pepper or cayenne pepper

  • 1

    clove garlic, crushed

  • half of

    medium onion, chopped

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 2

    branches lovage or a handful of celery leaves

  • 1

    bunch thyme

  • 24

    freshly shucked Chesapeake oysters, liquor reserved

  • 1

    egg, crushed (for egg wash)

What’s your favourite method to eat oysters? Inform us within the feedback under.



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Post Author: allknifeshop