Pearls of the sea

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
1 May 2007, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - There's nothing more delicious at this time of year than fresh oysters, writes Gillian Hirst in Queensland.

DELICACY ... fresh oysters are perfect at this time of year.

Many of us may associate oysters with Christmas, but the best time to eat oysters is now.

Besides the native oyster, a close relative of the highly prized belon oyster from France (and one to watch in the future) the two main varieties available across Australia are the Sydney Rock and the Pacific oyster. Both of these oysters spawn in summer with the Rock having an additional spawning period in spring. This is not the time to be eating them. Their flesh becomes milky, almost creamy and the fresh salt of the sea is gone.

The Pacific oyster grows faster and larger than the Sydney Rock and most will be familiar with the enormous offerings from Tasmania. To my mind these oysters are often grown too large to eat raw. I would prefer to see them gently poached in a champagne sauce, baked with creamy leeks and parmesan or in my luscious potato and oyster soup.