Sunday, October 31, 2010

Choupique on top

OK, oyster lovers who aren't from Southeast Louisiana may not be aware of the beauty that is "Choupique," the black bowfin fish (even more ancient than the Sturgeon) which produces a wonderful row. It used to be fairly inexpensive, and you'd sometimes hear it referred to as "Cajun" caviar.  Neither is now the case. It can now be ordered online, and it's not cheap ... generally around $10-$15/ounce. As far as I know, it has to remain refrigerated, and is seasonal to the winter months around here.  There might be other areas producing it that I'm not aware of. It pairs particularly nicely with raw oysters, as the shiny, firm, naturally black eggs are light in flavor, and don't overpower our local bivalves.

Oyster facts

Here's a tidbit, thanks to Ilene Polansky.

"There is no way of telling male oysters from females by examining their shells. While oysters have separate sexes, they may change sex one or more times during their life span. The gonads, organs responsible for producing both eggs and sperm, surround the digestive organs and are made up of sex cells, branching tubules and connective tissue."

Can coastal restoration and oyster beds coexist?

I find it's amazing that there are still people who make a mutually-exclusive argument, one way or the other. Of course they can coexist. We need well-funded smart people to figure out exactly how to make it work, but at least Earl Melancon Jr. has the right attitude:

"I think things have gotten to a level of action that we've not seen before because we're starting to see money pumped into the state, from one source or another," said Earl Melancon Jr., a professor of biological sciences at Nicholls State University who is assisting the state with the coastal restoration master plan revisions. "What I am glad to see is that finally things have moved to the point where there's the reality that some of this stuff is going to happen. ... I am seeing now, finally, more and more discussion in terms of 'Just how are we going to change the estuaries?' Now we're talking about 'Is there a way to have your cake and eat it too?' I'm of the opinion that if you're willing to manage things properly, you can."

The question is whether politics will get in the way.

Louisiana oyster industry struggles to cope with oil spill, coastal restoration efforts