Smoked oyster bruschetta
I had one of those rare moments today where I stared fate in the face and rather than going after it like a greyhound chasing a rabbit at Wonderland, I just sat there petrified and plagued by self-doubt. I did this for a few hours and then took the train home, getting off at Charles/MGH to avoid the green line. Walking down Charles Street, amid all the marathoners beaming with self-satisfaction and runners highs, I got increasingly disgusted with myself. Why hadn’t I acted? What did I have to lose? Why was I so scared?
Part of it, I think, is a whirlwind weekend that left me feeling behind. I hadn’t turned on my stove since Thursday. Two black bananas were spooning in my fruit bowl. I had nothing suitable to bring for lunch today, opting instead for a mediocre sub that I’m sure at least partly fueled my self loathing.
I rummaged around the kitchen, hoping for something quick, yet knowing that a box of mac and cheese would help my spirit about as much as watching Beaches. There was a country-type loaf in the freezer, an avocado in the fridge, and a tin of smoked oysters in the cupboard.
Long before I ever had an oyster on the half shell, I remember my grandparents munching on smoked oysters as an impromptu hors d’ourves, alongside a small bowl of salted peanuts or Cape Cod potato chips. I’d kind of forgotten about them until last week when I read about Joe Yonan’s new book on Poor Man’s Feast.
Crusty bread smeared with avocado has long been a guilty pleasure. At $2 a pop, I feel like I ought to do something slightly more glamorous with an avocado than turn it into a glorified margarine. But honestly, add a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of the best olive oil you have, and that seemingly pedestrian snack is turned into something kind of magical. Smoked oysters would practically make it a meal, which was pretty much what I needed.
There was something comforting about opening that can. A simple crack and tug, and there they were, all cozily nestled together. I almost hated to disturb them.
When my rounds of bread were toasted I smeared them with avocado and plunked the oysters on top. Then sea salt and a pinch of smoked paprika, which I’m obsessed with at the moment. I ate them right there in the kitchen, standing at the counter in tree pose- my de facto cooking stance. The bruschetta were salty and sweet and smoky, the harsh crunch tempered by a thick layer of softness above. I might as well have been swallowing pure relief.
Maybe Mondays are a bad day to plan to confront destiny, I reasoned as I chewed. Aren’t Mondays daunting enough already? Tuesday would be a much better day.
*My apologies for the pessimo picture. These look more like turds on toast than anything else. But I swear, they’re tasty.