Oysters: taste of the sea

Thanksgiving has always meant lots of things to me: turkey gumbo, cornbread, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and oysters. I have this image emblazoned in my mind of my dad shucking oysters for stuffing, outside in the cold, and eating them straight from the shell, while sitting on the tailgate of his pickup truck.

There’s an old fisherman’s adage that you should not consume shellfish during months that don’t contain an “R.” This is primarily because during warmer months Diploid oysters spawn, meaning they reduce in size and become watery and unpalatable. However, Triploid oysters—which can be harvested quicker—actually remain sweet and are pleasant in taste and texture all year-long, and is your best choice in warmer months.

I’m tremendously delighted to have been introduced to cousins Travis and Ryan Croxton at Rappahannock River Oysters, in Topping, Virginia. They believe in the concept of merrior, which means “tasting the sea,” and it shows in their oysters. We’ve been lucky to partner with them for some of our beer dinners, and right now we are featuring their BarCat oysters on our menu, in our oyster pan stew and wintry salad.

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