Rare purple pearl found in restaurant clam appetizer

Scott Overland said he thought “a bead or piece of candy” was inside a clam he was serving at a restaurant in Delaware. In its place was a rare purple pearl. (Photo: Scott Onshore)

On a family vacation, Scott Overland was eating out at Salt Air Kitchen and Bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when he found a rare treasure on a plate.

“We ordered the clams appetizers with shrimp paste and bell pepper pico [de gallo]Overland told Yahoo Life. “My wife isn’t a big fan of bell peppers, so we asked for it to be pico-free, but they forgot to ask for it and put it on,” Overland said, who nearly sent the dish back.

Luckily he didn’t, as he would never find a rare purple pearl in one of the clams.

“[It’s] A good lesson, don’t be miserable in restaurants,” Overland said of the dish, which is not part of the restaurant’s raw bar menu, but cooked. “It’s also good,” he said When it comes to getting ready to say, “Because if we just slurped the clams on the half shells, we’d probably have swallowed the pearls. “

While eating the clam, Overland took a bite of something hard, thinking it was a shell. no. “When we saw it, it was actually purple,” says Overland, who initially thought it was something a chef had dropped in. “It’s like a bead or a piece of candy,” he said. “My wife said it looked like one of those dotted candies that you peel off paper because it’s flat on the back and a very shallow kind of Purple.”

Just as the meal was about to end, Overland made an unexpected discovery. “We didn’t keep eating clams,” he recalls. “In fact, at first, before we knew it was a pearl, we thought it might be something that fell from the kitchen, so we stopped eating and started trying to figure out what it was.”

When they checked the shell again and found a dent in it that looked like something had grown, they realized they might have something coming from inside the clam. “We took out our phones and started [searching for] What we could have, because none of us knew clams could produce pearls; “We thought they only came from oysters,” Overland said, “and we’ve never seen purple pearls before.”

Overland's clam appetizers contain a surprising ingredient: a rare purple pearl.  (Photo: Scott Onshore)

Overland’s clam appetizers contain a surprising ingredient: a rare purple pearl. (Photo: Scott Onshore)

It turns out that they learned to clam Do Produce pearls…they were able Purple. “We didn’t initially tell anyone in the restaurant what we found because we wanted to be more sure what it was,” Overland said.

At the end of the meal, they show the pearls to the waiter. “She said we could definitely keep it, but she wanted to take pictures with her phone,” Overland said. “As we left, we heard her tell the other waiters, ‘My client just found a pearl in his clams!’ She had never seen anything like this before.”

Restaurant staff were delighted that Overland’s appetizers ended up being better value than what was on the menu. “We were all amazed and delighted by this guest — I personally cooked the clams on a given night and couldn’t believe the pearls I got,” says Salt Air executive chef Pete Farley. The dish contains clams Virginia Charles from Cape Town. According to the chef, the dish is usually cooked in a white wine, garlic and butter broth, then topped with heirloom bell pepper seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

The rare find comes from Salt Air Kitchen and Bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  (Photo: Salt Air Kitchen and Bar)

The rare find comes from Salt Air Kitchen and Bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. (Photo: Salt Air Kitchen and Bar)

The clams in this dish are undoubtedly unexpected treasures. “These clams belong to the Mercenaria mercenaria species, commonly known as hard-shell clams,” said Lynn Arnold, seafood director at restaurant food supplier Rastelli Foods Group. “These types of clams are both wild-caught and sea-farmed along the east coast from Florida to Long Island Sound.”

This is rare considering the millions of clams harvested each year, but not uncommon Look for pearls. “I used to be a partner at a clam harvest facility outside Atlantic City, and we would find them on a regular basis; usually very small and mostly white,” Arnold said.

It is indeed rare to find a large pearl, especially a purple one. “The odds are about one in two million,” Arnold explained. “In February, an 8.8mm white pearl, estimated to be worth thousands of dollars, was found in a shucked clam at the Lobster House in Cape May, NJ. The purple pearl found in Delaware can be sold to the same price.”

Experts agree that natural pearls are hard to find in mollusks. “The vast majority of pearls today are cultured​​,” said Leon Rbibo, president of online jewelry retailer Pearl Source.

This doesn’t mean they’re less natural or less valuable, but it does mean producers have more control over the process and the final product. “Wild mollusks that produce natural pearls are rare, so from a commercial standpoint, it’s not very sensible to produce them at any scale,” Rbibo explained, adding that even when natural pearls are found — such as in clams or oysters Found on restaurant plates – they are often of low quality due to their small size and inconsistent shape.

In this case, though, the pearl appears to be perfectly round and unique in color, which would make it an extremely rare find. “Maybe one in ten million,” Rbibo said. “This can have a considerable impact on its value. If a pearl meets certain criteria for size, luster and quality, it can be worth thousands of dollars if it’s appraised correctly and sold at auction.”

At first, Overland said his wife thought the pearl was a purple candy.  (Photo: Scott Onshore)

At first, Overland said his wife thought the pearl was a purple candy. (Photo: Scott Onshore)

That’s a lot more than the typical pearl on a dinner plate. “When you hear stories of diners finding pearls in their seafood, what usually doesn’t raise eyebrows is that even in the best of circumstances, these pearls are often worth a few hundred dollars,” Rbibo said. “However, this particular restaurant found something more special.”

While stories of strange and unusual things from the depths of the ocean exist, such miracles are rarely seen. “We often get excited when we see small fish in big mouths, or the occasional swordfish with a harpoon spear in its stomach. One can dream of catching blue or orange lobsters, but we know there are better Chances are you were bitten by a shark while eating corn dogs on the Coney Island boardwalk,” said Jodie Mead, president of online seafood retailer Fulton’s Fish Market. “Congratulations to this lucky man who was in the right place at the right time on this day, the world is this man’s oyster.”

Or, rather, clams.

But what will Overland do with his new bounty? “We haven’t evaluated it yet, but we plan to do it in the next week or two,” he shared. “We’re still deciding what to do with it, but we tend to keep it as a cool heirloom and something to remember.”

Unforgettable, indeed. Overland is also considering turning his find into a piece of jewelry, but there’s a downside. “If my wife wants earrings, I’m going to have to keep eating a lot of clams to find a second one,” he said.

Overland likens the experience to a treasure hunt. “I didn’t even know you could hunt for treasure in a bowl of clams, but you live and you learn,” Overland said, adding that he’ll definitely keep eating clams, but may be more cautious before his next time. “Definitely worth the extra second to make sure I’m not biting into anything that could help my kids get through college.”

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