The Oyster- Plump Pacific & Rich Angasi
The Pacific oyster industry on the Eyre Peninsula is a relatively contemporary activity. It was introduced to Tasmania in 1947 from Japan and from there to Coffin Bay in 1969. Since then it has become renowned worldwide for the quality and consistency of the oysters it produces.
The Angasi Oyster; which is native to the Eyre Peninsula has been in commercial production in the area since 1848. Even then, gourmands revered the extraordinary culinary characteristics of one of the Peninsula's truly great luxury foods. Some growers start production on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula then move the oysters to the west coast of the region because the nutrient levels are much higher and are ideal for finishing the oysters.
Photo: Oysters South Australia
The Pacific Oyster
Typically, large with a spiky shell, a clean white interior and can be characterised by it's fresh, clean and salty flavour. The Pacific Oyster is popular as a cooking oyster, particularly with Japanese and Chinese chefs, who regard its simple flavour and texture a great vehicle for flavours.
Considering the oyster spends the majority of its life underwater, the Pacific Oyster is a relatively easy oyster to open and for the novice is a good starting point.
The oyster prefers the cooler months, spawning in summer- depending on the region it comes from, it is available from March to early December.
The waterways of the Eyre Peninsula provide a broad range of conditions and micro climates well suited to producing a range of flavours and sizes of Pacific Oysters.
Pacific Oysters have very high growth rates (they can grow over 75 mm in their first 18 months) and have high rates of reproduction.
Like most oyster species, Pacific Oysters change sex during their life, usually spawning first as a male and subsequently as a female.
Whilst the popular eating period for oysters is summer, a natural Pacific Oyster from the Eyre Peninsula is unlikely to be in premium condition at this time.
Although recent developments have allowed oyster growers to produce a spawnless oyster, allowing some growers from the Eyre Peninsula to Produce oysters year round.
The Flat or native oyster as it is sometimes called, is a unique and very special oyster indeed.
Although one of the first known seafoods farmed on the Eyre Peninsula (by indigenous Australians some 6,000 years ago) the Angasi has only recently become fashionable again, due mainly to the difficulty they have growing it.
If the Pacific Oyster is the Sauvignon Blanc of oysters then the Angasi Oyster is certainly the Shiraz. Full flavoured and textured, the Angasi is big, very rich, with an almost meaty flavour and texture.
The Eyre Peninsula with it's unique and varied bays and waterways allows oyster farmers to produce an amazing range of styles and flavours of oysters, justly becoming the oyster bowl of Australia.
Information: The SEAFOOD of the Eyre Peninsula- Australia's Seafood Frontier Book