Oysters - Pacific & Angasi from Eyre Peninsula
Pacific Oysters – Crassostrea gigas
Angasi Oysters – Ostrea angasi
Region of origin
The principal growing regions on the Eyre Peninsula are – Cowell, Streaky Bay, Coffin Bay, Ceduna and Smoky Bay.
The contemporary nature of the oyster farming industry on the Eyre Peninsula has resulted in farmers using world’s best practice techniques, including floating rack and basket systems which ensures the oysters have access to the maximum amount of food at all times.
Oyster farming is a benign aquaculture activity which has no environmental impact on the surrounding flora or fauna of the region. The South Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (SASQAP) is a joint initiative between Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA) and the shellfish industries of South Australia. SASQAP provides the public with health protection where shellfish can only be harvested from approved harvesting areas. Following guidelines set out under the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program the waters where shellfish grow nd the shellfish are routinely tested to ensure that the shellfish is safe for human consumption. Shellfish should only be sold from approved growing areas.
Pacific Oysters grow from spat to pack size in 12-18 months on the Eyre Peninsula.
Angasi Oysters grow from spat to pack size in 18-24 months.
Pacific – Peak season for Pacific oysters from the Eyre Peninsula is March to December, with some Triploid oysters available year round.
Angasi – Available from March to December with peak season for plump Angasi April to August.
Pacific – Sizes can range anywhere from 50mm to 150mm+, however industry grading is as follows:
Bistro 50 -60mm
Angasi – 70-75mm is the average size
Methods to Market
Most oysters grown on the Eyre Peninsula are sold to end users via a trade intermediary (processor
or wholesaler) in live, whole shell form. Most of these oysters are processed prior to delivery to the foodservice and retail trade.
The Angasi oysters are only sold unopened.
Handling & Storage
Live pacific oysters should be stored at 4-8°C, covered with a damp cloth in an airtight container. Pre-opened Pacific Oysters should be consumed on day of purchase. Angasi Oysters should be covered with a damp cloth and kept closed either with a weight or an individual tie on each oyster and should be stored at 4-8°C in an airtight container. When opened, oysters should be stored at 0-2°C. Some oyster processors prefer to open the oyster from the front, but this method requires the oyster to be washed free of any shell which may be shattered in opening. Front-opened oysters are typically placed back into the shell post washing, with their belly facing up.
Pacific – The flesh colour of the Pacific Oyster varies by region/sub region and grower – but are typically steely grey/white to a full cream colour.
Angasi – Typically khaki to cream in colour with a black external frill.
The flavours vary between the regions/subregions and growers but can be summarised as follows:
Cowell Pacific – salty with a clean iodine zing and light finish
Coffin Bay – unique full flavour with sweet front palate underpinned by salty, iodine notes with a fresh ocean spray finish
Streaky Bay – full sweet and round flavour with a light salty finish
Smoky Bay – balanced seaweed sweetness and salty zing, with a long lingering aftertaste
Ceduna – big oceanic burst of upfront flavour with a clean, fresh finish
Coffin Bay Angasi – a complex, full umami flavour of seaweed and citrus with long, deep and rich aftertaste and mouth feel
Pacific – The texture of the Pacific Oysters vary from light/tight texture in March to a full milk creaminess from August to December.
Angasi – The Angasi ranges from soft, ripe and creamy April to August, and lean and firm September to late December.
The ultimate experience is to enjoy an oyster which has been freshly opened and is consumed within 20 minutes of opening.
Pacific Oysters are especially suited to steaming, poaching, roasting, frying and grilling.
Angasi are well suited to wok-frying, pan-frying and roasting. With both do not overcook.
Larger oysters are great coated with Japanese breadcrumbs and deep-fried, or placed unopened in hot ashes until the lid pops – eat it straight from the shell.
1. Oysters from Eyre Peninsula. Left to right. Angasi, Standard Pacific, Buffet & Bistro
2. Oysters should be scrubbed & stored at 4-8% under a damp cloth, in an airtight container.
3. To open oyster – position oyster with flat shell facing up and oyster ‘ear’ facing out – insert oyster knife at 15 degrees to the bottom shell and gain purchase between the shells
4. Twist oyster knife using a motorcycle ‘accelerator’ grip to break hinge between shells
5. Slide oyster knife along the top shell to the 2 o’clock position on the top shell and snip abductor muscle – releasing the top shell
6. Snip abductor muscle from under the oyster on the bottom shell, releasing oyster from shell
7. Place oyster knife against the underside of the oyster and gently roll oyster over in shell
8. Present oyster and serve.