Sunday, December 13, 2009

Momentary oystering break from the studio





I've got plenty to do in the studio, including firing the last load of bisque before this week's glaze firing and weekend kiln-opening and open studio. But I can't stay inside all the time, so this morning I headed to Monument Beach to meet up with Mike and Tammy Race on the oyster flats at low tide.
It's oyster season here on the Cape, one of the pleasures of sharing the cold weather with no one but locals. I live in Falmouth, so I can't harvest the Monument Beach version of Crassotreia Virginica. That village is in the town of Bourne, so we depend on Mike and Tammy's eagerness to share. That's Mike holding the basket of today's harvest. We eat a lot of their oysters this time of year. They're small and firm and taste like the salt water they come from. Kumamotos, Olympias, Apalachicolas, Wellfleets, Cotuits, Belons, Bluepoints ... they're all good. But these from Monument Beach, eaten with only a grinding of black pepper and perhaps a bit of lemon, are pretty hard to beat.
This beach is on the narrow dike between the harbor at Monument Bay and the Cape Cod Canal, with the railroad bridge over the canal in the background. At dead low tide this year, there are so many oysters on the surface that it's difficult to spend more than a half-hour gathering your limit. It's a good year for oysters.

11 comments:

Ron said...

Oh I bet those are tasty.

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

This brings back great memories. I grew up on the SC coast and my dad and I started eating oysters in October. We had to wait for the cool weather and the "R" months. We never ate oysters May-August. We had some friends that would steam bushels of them and we would eat until we were stuffed. And then the oyster stew, yum!!! There were also some great little dives we would go to that served you on plywood tables with a hole in the middle that you threw the shells in they landed in the can under the table. We are heading for the coast next week, looking forward to the oysters!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

BRRRR! What a gorgeous, abstract photo of the oysters with the water washing over them. Love that!

Hollis Engley said...

They are, Ron. I've had those SC oysters, Tracey, and they're wonderful. I used to stop in Charleston at a little place that serves a "bucket o' oysters," and that's exactly what comes to the table. And thanks, Elizabeth, it was a beautiful low tide out there this morning.

Dan Finnegan said...

...unless you're the oyster!

janet said...

The best is the one you open right there on the beach and slurp down while breathing the salty air, thanking the oyster first, of course.

Hollis Engley said...

Of course ... you've done that more than once, haven't you?

mengley said...

I'll happily slog around in the mud to collect them, as long as you have some leftover red chile and dogs for me, afterwards. Yeah, yeah... who'se son am I, I know.

Hollis Engley said...

We have the leftover chile right now. Just had some for lunch. I know we could find some dogs. Come on over.

David said...

Oh man, now we have to put out a contract on you as you have violated the code of oystermerta; you have shown the location of the grail and must be killed.

Hollis Engley said...

From the crowds of people headed to the flats with empty baskets, I'm guessing it's not a big secret.