Pipes Cove Oysters showed up twice in my life this week. First at the Pas Mal tasting at Bar Boulud on Tuesday. Put on by my favorite wine salesman Michael Fueurstein, the tasting had some delicious Champagnes and Burgundies. And the snacks were exquisite. But out front were plates of the oysters from the waters of Greenport off the shore from the Silver Sands Motel owned by my name buddy Darline Duffy and her familly. I know Darline from town hall; she is an assessor.

Then yesterday Darline showed up in the kitchen at the Frisky Oyster to show off her wares to our chef, Robby Beaver. The oysters were good, but the highlight was who she brought with her, a bayman of 35 years Dean Yaxa, who gave the kitchen a lesson in how to open oysters. “If I can do it, you can do it,” he said. “I’m not a magician.”

But he sure made it look easy.

The technique involves understanding how oysters a built and grow. Oysters grow like our hair, from the top, so the outer edge is brittle, like the ends of our hair. Hold the oyster with the larger shell on the bottom and insert the tip of a knife (but not just any knife) anywhere from two to four o’clock. Push the tip slightly upward, so as not to cut the muscle, and then just peel it back.

Dean came with a gift of a knife, a clam knife that he modified with a rasp, to just sharpen its tip a little. He advises to choke up on the knife, like a baseball bat. Doing so will prevent your cutting yourself.

The guys, who have been opening oysters for years, were entralled as he told his story and how oysters are bred.

From fancy New York restaurant to a demonstration from a salty bayman.


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