Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oyster Poetry

OK, so I'll start this off, and would love to have contributions from blog visitors.

A Dozen

You can rest easy
Standing, seated
Say what you will
Eat as you like
Stay awhile, or not
What's important
What's not political, and is
Is right here
In front of you, and me
To share ...
A dozen

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why are oysters a keystone species?

Without oysters many coastal ecosystems would collapse. Each oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. A healthy oyster bed can  dramatically improve water quality, in addition to cycling water between the water column and bottom-dwelling species. In Louisiana and other Gulf states, they are considered crucial to coastal restoration.

Here's how some smart folks in Mobile are utilizing oyster shells to help restore the health of Mobile Bay: Alabama oyster bed restoration among first since Gulf oil spill

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wine and Beer / Oyster Pairings

I've been thinking about which wines and beers pair well with raw oysters. Conventional wisdom is that it's the crisp, dry, clean-finishing wines which work well. I would assert, however, that it greatly depends on the oyster. What may work beautifully with a Royal Miyagi may not pair well with an Atlantic or Olympia. The saltiness, brininess (which I distinguish from saltiness), creaminess/butteriness, sweetness, metallic quality, and other flavor profiles such as cucumber, seaweed, kiwi, etc., all must influence the sort of interaction which occurs with a beer or wine on the palate. Texture and temperature (of oyster and libation) would obviously also be a major factor.  Picpoul, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris are grape varieties which tend to get used a lot, but are they best. What do you think? I'll post some of my favorites here.

I'll begin with a beer pairing. One of my favorite combinations for moderately briny Pacific oyster is Pilsner Urquell, which I find stands up without overpowering, possibly due to the high carbonation and mild hoppiness.