The tide at Jeremy's Point yesterday was just right for picking oysters. Walking the beach, we stuffed our pockets with the deep cupped mollusks after setting anchor and swimming in to shore. They were big, well over legal, and covered with seaweed and piggy-backing spat.
Inside the point, where tidal pools and rivers wend towards shore and the pine scrub blocks the wind, we found a cherry stone, and then a quahog. Clamped shut and heavy, they clattered loud against their cell mates. Amongst eel grass and sand, there nestled a bushy patch of sea beans—the salty pickles of the intertidal zone.
Someone had a screwdriver, and we began cracking the bivalves open. There were two dozen in all, with a garnish of green sea bean. The ebb tide feast left out bellies full for the swim back.
I returned to Great Island today, by land, to collect more of the sea bean for a salad. I had a crop of ripe tomatoes I was looking to slice, and a red onion besides. Tossed with Great Hill Blue, a bit of olive oil, and a touch of sugar, they made an excellent seaside dish.
SEA BEAN SALAD
Chop 4 large, ripe tomatoes into half-wedges. Pick a handful of of sea beans. Pull the outer meat of the beans from the stem (a hard, woody stem lives in the middle of the bean, and will be left behind if you tug the juicy part off, section by section). Measure about 1 cup of sea bean meat. Thinly slice 1 red onion and cut into half circles. Combine vegetables in a serving bowl and toss with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) lemon juice or cider vinegar, several ounces crumbled blue cheese, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. DO NOT SALT this salad unless you have tasted it and desire more. The sea beans are very salty, and even for a salt lover, usually do the trick.