Oyster night was smashing fun, as always, even though the drizzle kept us from what is many ways my favorite part of the evening: retiring downstairs to the firepit and getting lost in the music in an ecstatic haze during my one night of dispensation during Lent. Though the oyster-tequila shooters were a reliable path to more riotous party territory, it's just not the same indoors with the lights on; the party tends to break up earlier than I'd like. Still, my husband's oyster magic was right on, and I always love the gathering of clan and neighbors and out-of-town friends to stay the weekend. Before our houseguests left, they dragged a ladder out to the citrus trees and helped us finally harvest all the rest of the fruit, and just in time, for the new blooms are beginning to set.
A neighbor who celebrated her 94th birthday earlier this week brought a killer grapefruit pie, using fruit from our tree. Having had it before, I knew to recommend it to unfamiliar and skeptical guests. All evening I watched them take a bite, get a surprised and delighted look on their faces, and make a beeline to my neighbor's comfortable spot to exclaim over her pie. This is high praise considering that another neighbor brought her key lime tarts, which are fierce competition in the died-and-gone-to-Heaven dessert category.
We're still trying to finish up the oysters (I'm looking at you, lurking neighbors who didn't come over to help eat them last night--but luckily other neighbors picked up the slack!), so the NPH made oyster nachos per a recipe from Jeffrey's in Austin, and they were if possible better than even the many wonderful offerings from the night before:
If you're going to fry an oyster, I can't recommend a buttermilk/flour dredge too highly. We didn't use homemade yucca chips, which we've tried before without outstanding success; a good fresh corn tortilla chip with a nice crunchy crumbly feel is all you need. This dish covers all the hot-sour-salty-sweet bases along with creamy-crunchy-chewy-bite-size thrown in. The habanero cream and mango salsa can be made ahead of time, leaving not too much last-minute craziness for a dinner party.