The Naked Oyster welcomes spring. Proprietor Florence Lowell reports the oysters are back in the water, the new menu is open for your perusal, and the garden has survived the harsh winter. Florence loves her garden. Seven years ago, when she got tired of looking at a lawn she could never keep green, Florence pulled out all the grass and established two 30 x 10 foot potager beds right there in her own front yard. “It’s beautiful,” she said. The garden continues to yield, and today it is bursting in a spring profusion of parsley, cilantro, asparagus, lavender and mint. There are Rainbow radishes, Snow peas, beets, lettuce, carrots and Swiss chard. Florence has been busy drying herbs to use in conjunction with her fresh herbs and she says the combination of dry and fresh intensifies the taste nuance of her cooking. This is farm to table in action, as the herbs, produce, and oysters are destined for the Naked Oyster’s kitchen, where they will finally come to rest on your dinner plate.
To further nuance the flavors on your plate, Florence has spent the last month roasting black garlic, a top secret ancient Asian ingredient she uses to build flavor. “I cook it for four weeks on a very low heat in a rice cooker until the garlic caramelizes,” Florence explains. It works in the restaurant kitchen because there is always someone around to watch it. She keeps it refrigerated in a jar and adds it as needed, combined with regular roasted garlic and fresh garlic in a savory triumvirate. Happily, this does not overdo the garlic flavor, as the flavors are different but tied to each other to create deeper and deeper layers. The black garlic tastes nutty and meaty. All three garlics and both forms of herb come together beautifully in the delightful dishes on the new spring menu. You’ll find the nuttiness of the faro heightened by the garlic, and the spring duck confit in rhubarb cherry sauce ignited by the herbs.
Come and taste.
Florence’s Garden Summer 2014