Picturing Oysters, Clams and Other Little Fish at Cor-J in Hampton Bays

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To whet your appetite for eating oysters during Eat Drink Local–and to try out our nifty new slideshow plugin–here are some advanced images from the profile of Cor-J Seafood which will appear in the coming High Summer issue of Edible East End (out in August). You may recall Cor-J from Eileen Duffy’s recent piece on blood clams, a local species found in the muddiest part of our local bays that are named for the “vivid red blood that spills out when the clam is opened.”

But blood clams aren’t the only local treat that Cor-J stocks, and which has earned this seafood shop and fish packing facility a die-hard customer base. Its sources for Long Island seafood are impeccable–from clams and mussels, to flounder and porgie. And while Cor-J does stock larger fish–Long Island-caught tuna and swordfish–it’s got an impressive selection of the small and less popular, which we are big fans of because they can generally be harvested more sustainably and their numbers are less beleaguered. This doesn’t just include things like blood clams, but also piss clams, surf clams, hard clams (including little necks and cherry stones), blue crabs, blow fish, butter fish, and eel, as well as often discarded parts of fish like monkfish livers. They also offer a number of local oysters–one of the seven local ingredients we’re encouraging New Yorkers to eat (and encouraging our East End partner restaurants to cook) from June 24-30 during Eat Drink Local.

Cor-J has has another retail outlet on Mill Road in Westhampton Beach, but these images are from the Hampton Bays location, which is on the water, just before the Ponquogue Bridge, and where it feels like the glistening seafood on display It’s a tight room, and especially during rushes customers must obediently wait against the wall until its their turn for a sales person to walk them around the store, bagging, cleaning and filetting whatever the customer chooses.

And if you do want to try blood clams, here’s what Duffy reports: “Jimmy Coronesi, the fish store’s owner, says he sells them—at 40¢ a piece—to South Americans, mostly Ecuadorians, who make ceviche out of them. (With that cilantro and lime.) Jimmy’s never eaten one. Neither has Ed Warner, a fifth-generation bayman in Southampton, whose son now also makes his living on the water.  Warner brings the blood clams he finds as a by-product of his business harvesting hard clams and razor clams to Cor-J. He says he’s never found more than 100 in a day.

So they’re rare, and expensive and a delicacy in other countries. Sounds like they may have a future here in our neck of the woods. Let us know when you’ve eaten one.”

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