“Like kissing the sea on the lips.” – Léon-Paul Fargue
We don’t quote French poets lightly, but we’ve never heard a better description for eating oysters… and around here, we’ve got some love for the sea. So pucker up- We’re shucking $1 OYSTERS MONDAY-FRIDAY 4:30 TO 6:30 AT THE BAR. Eat them pure or with a dab of Chef Sam’s cucumber mignonette, washed down with glass of bubbly or chilled Albarino- There just ain’t no better way to start a meal. …We’re pretty sure a French poet said that too. If you love all things oysters, read on…
There was a time when oysters were considered the food of the working class and sold on every street corner. As they grew in popularity, wild oyster beds became threatened and oysters became more of a luxury item.
Well, thankfully all that has changed with the boom in aquaculture. It’s a good time to be an oyster lover, my friends- Oyster farming has blossomed as an industry and has brought to market increasing variety and availability. You can now taste the waters near and far, with some of the finest a mere driving distance away from towns we know and love (Wellfleet, Duxbury, Watch Hill, Chatham…).
But do they really taste all that different? Heck yeah. Believe it or not, there are only 5 types of oysters harvested in the U.S. The rest is meroir, or the distinctive stamp of the waters they they live in. You’ll find a comprehensive guide to the best known oysters here on Rowan Jacobsen’s beloved Oyster Guide website.
And if all that intimidates you, start with this fine primer on “How to Eat (and Taste) an Oyster” from Bon Appetit. It is after all, all about the enjoyment of the thing. As Jonathan Swift once so eloquently summed up, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” … and the rest of us are sure thankful he did.
An engraving published in Harper’s Weekly depicted oyster stands at Fulton Market in 1870. Credit Archive Photos/Getty Images