Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook


Posted in oysters, port moguer by bowsprite on 2010/08/08

dont’ they look like whales when longer-valve up?

To open an oyster, first, have a good oyster knife:

Use an oyster knife. Don’t use a kitchen knife; the valves of the oyster may give way and the knife could slip. Visiting friends once tried to use my paring knife with the above result. They were guilty of the following, simultaneously:

• using the wrong tool for the job at hand,
• using said tool for the wrong job. Towmasters would not approve.

Wiggle the knife into the hinge, don’t push into the oyster, but wiggle, vibrate, coax in. When the knife is in far enough (to not merely chip  the top valve but to move the whole shell), twist it 90°, like turning a key. Slide sharp edge to sever the adductor. More details here.

Question: do you dump out the elixir, or do you carefully preserve the inner liquid? The fishmonger (le poissonier) who taught me how to shuck dumped it out. Others were horrified by this, and said it was important to keep.

As it was a warm, “r”-less month, some of the oysters on the rocks of Port Moguer had a creamy milky juice, la laiteuse. It is probably an acquired taste.

“The first time I was in America, I went to New York. It was my first day, I was in Rockefeller Center at a restaurant, and I saw a man open an oyster by holding it up over a candle.” He shuddered as only how a frenchman can when faced with american ingenuity.

oysters in NYHarbor, next…


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