Naked Cowboys

May 21, 2010

In retrospect, it seems like a no-brainer that somebody would name an oyster after the Naked Cowboy. The jaunty naughtiness, the devil-may-care attitude, the ample flesh–it’s a perfect match. In this case, the somebody is Chris Quartuccio of Blue Island Oyster Company, who has been harvesting oysters from Long Island Sound for 15 years. Naked Cowboys are wild oysters from the sound, and they have the wild variability you might expect. They tend to be strongly mineral, a touch iodine, and beautifully briny. As wild-grown oysters, they mature slowly, taking three years to reach market size (three inches). Like me, Chris feels that slow-grown oysters have richer, firmer meats. Oysters that grow too quickly can be, in Chris’s words, “flimsy and weak.  Kinda like a six-foot-tall 9th grader.  The size is there, but no substance.” Naked Cowboys have plenty of substance, as you’ll see if you try them at Philly’s Oyster House, DC’s Hank’s Oyster Bar, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Hog Island Oyster Bar, or any of the other top establishments that carry them. They are also amazingly fresh–Chris and his team dive for them five days a week, delivering to NYC restos the following day. They will also ship direct to individuals.

See a video of Chris in action on Long Island Sound.

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