Marine Harvest

The weather on Saturday was wild.  The spring tidal predictions for this day were the best for the year; that is to say the most meaningful for those who like to go to the shore to search the lowest sublittoral which is rarely exposed by the receding tide.  We know a place where you can collect with ease a good selection of edible mollusc species.  The high winds and heavy rain were deterrents for this seasoned beachcomber, but Nick and Francois were not to be dissuaded.  After a good Irish breakfast they set off on the 45 minute drive to their destination.

There Nick was able to relive his 2010 experience of that shore.  For Francois it was something of a revelation.  When they returned to the cottage they proceeded to sort their bounty ‘into species and prepare them for a seafood supper.  Most labour-intensive were the mussels, lovely big shells sporting established epifauna.  They scraped these in buckets of water whilst they watched 6-nations rugby on telly.  I boiled the two ‘bulots’ (whelks) and steamed the ‘petoncles’  (small scallops) ready for a little risotto.  I cleaned the only ‘St Jacques’.  In 2010 we fished about 20.

Just before we ate Nick and Francois opened the oysters – native oysters of assorted sizes.  In France native oysters are a delicacy these days, the more easily cultivated Crassostrea, considered to be inferior in quality, are widely available.  To my continuing amazement oysters can be bought from a local shop in a small inland town or village in France.  As if they are an essential commodity as, say, a kilo of onions!

We ate our fruits de mer feast with our own St Vaast lemons, Irish soda bread and some of our homemade scones.  It does not get more wholesome than this.


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