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Unshucked Oysters

snifflyfro May 17, 2010 02:09 PM

I know there's been lots of talk about $1 oysters and other oyster deals in and around Boston. What about unshucked oysters? Where do people get theirs? (Anything in the Chestnut Hill area would be great).

  1. c
    cindylu May 23, 2010 07:02 AM

    We have had great luck with the unshucked oysters at Whole Foods in Brighton. $1 each and full of liquid - super fresh! The best oysters we have ever bought anywhere. Legal seems to process them in a really strong brine that is too salty for us.
    Crate and Barrel has a super Oyster shucker - a wooden block that wedges the shell and protects your hand. The block has a lip on the bottom that goes over the edge of your counter. The shell is wedged at a perfect angle with space above and below - Safe and requires a MINIMUM of effort . This ended a long search - haven't seen it anywhere else! $9.95

    1 Reply
    1. re: cindylu
      bornagainitalian May 23, 2010 07:56 AM

      I have purchased (infrequently) oyster at Whole Foods Newton on Washington and found they have never compared with New Deal's. For the .20 or .30 more you are guaranteed fresh oysters. Also Carl @ New Deal was extremely helpful with shucking technique/advise. I recommend New Deal to anyone interested in attempting to eat oysters at home.

    2. s
      suzysue2 May 22, 2010 10:07 PM

      Island Creek delivers 100 oysters for $100 (see their website), there is really nothing better, and StriperGuy is right, make sure the Champagne (or Chablis) is cold and that you have plenty of ice on hand.

      Buying seafood from Whole Foods is like playing Russian roulette, I have gotten beautiful, as well as completely rancid and rotten seafood there, I really should ask to smell before I buy, but I feel like I am insulting the guy behind the counter, but shouldn't considering how many times they have sold me stuff that I have pitched directly into the trash. WF also never removes the pin bones from their salmon which has screwed me at dinner parties and coincidentally (or not) screwed one of the contestants on Top Chef.

      2 Replies
      1. re: suzysue2
        StriperGuy May 23, 2010 05:40 AM

        Yah, I can't deal with the crappy fish at Whole Foods. Nothing worse then bringing a nice of fish home, opening the bag, and getting that bad fish stink.

        No decent fish monger would allow that to happen as frequently as it does at Whole Foods.

        1. re: suzysue2
          9lives May 23, 2010 07:08 AM

          Island Creek is a great product and a deal at $1 a piece.

          You can also shop at New England Shellfish on the Fish Pier...$.60-75/ piece. Go early 6-8AM, no warm fuzzy feelings but great oysters.

          Concord Fish and Prime is owned by the same family as a top Fish Pier dealer. Mike can get you most anything at a fair price; maybe give him a days notice.

          Fish Pier Restaurant
          667 E Broadway, Boston, MA 02127

        2. s
          snifflyfro May 18, 2010 12:18 PM

          Thanks. Called New Deal. He's got a couple of varieties, one from CT and the other from ME. About $1.20-$1.40 a piece depending on variety.

          Legal's was a bit pricier at their market.

          I'll hit up New Deal, but Whole Foods in Brighton has a couple of varieties, Wellfleet and Island Creek for .99 a piece.

          11 Replies
          1. re: snifflyfro
            powerfulpierre May 18, 2010 01:11 PM

            At 99 cents each I've been buying a dozen or so once or twice a week at Whole Foods in Bedford. They have been very fresh and sweet. Had the Island Creek last night and they were small, sweet, and only lightly salty. Bargain goodness. Mmmmmm. . . .

            1. re: powerfulpierre
              joth68 May 18, 2010 01:15 PM

              any idea if they have the .99 deal at the medford or freshpond locations?

              1. re: powerfulpierre
                justbeingpolite May 18, 2010 01:20 PM

                Merci pour le tip, Pierre. I'm on my way.

                1. re: powerfulpierre
                  snifflyfro May 18, 2010 08:42 PM

                  So I'm ready to jump on the oyster bandwagon after having them several times at restaurants. I tried shucking once with a non oyster knife (and flat head screwdriver). Got them open, but as you can imagine, besides the effort involved there were shell chips all over.

                  So time for an oyster knife...

                  I know there is the classic, white handled knife seen throughout New England. As I a novice, I'm a bit concerned about cutting myself (I know I could do the special glove and/or towels) but am thinking about this from Sur La Table: http://www.surlatable.com/product/dubost+oyster+knife+set.do?keyword=oyster+knife&sortby=ourPicks

                  The price seems good but haven't been able to find any reviews except one very brief on Amazon.

                  The Sur La Table set seems very similar to this English product except the knife in the English product appears superior (and the price is obviously more): http://www.z-u.co.uk/oysterclamps.html

                  I know that if I get into shucking them on my own I'll end up going the glove and traditional knife method at some point or at the very least upgrade the knife if this one proofs insufficient.

                  Thanks for your thoughts.

                  1. re: snifflyfro
                    StriperGuy May 19, 2010 01:22 AM

                    Those gadgets are nonsense and dangerous too boot.

                    China Fair in Cambridge has good oyster knives for reasonable prices as do any of the resto supply places.

                    All you need is a dish towel and a solid counter top. Cover oyster with dish towel leaving just the hinge exposed. Place your hand on top and hold it down firmly with the palm of your hand. Take it slow and twist-wiggle the point of the oyster knife into the oyster hinge.

                    You should not be using a lot of force, if you are, you are doing it wrong and risk hurting yourself. The entire operation is about wiggle and finesse. As soon as you get the point into the hinge, twist and the oyster pops right open. Oh, and make sure the champagne is cold.

                    After you've done a few dozen it will be easy.

                    WAY easier with the proper tool as opposed to a screwdriver.

                    China Fair
                    2100 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                    1. re: snifflyfro
                      powerfulpierre May 19, 2010 04:42 AM

                      From my limited experience, StriperGuy's method is spot on, including the champagne. Also, I've had success by putting the bag 'o oysters in the freezer for half hour or so. The cold seems to relax the little critters and they are easier to open. Just don't forget them and freeze them.

                      1. re: powerfulpierre
                        okra May 19, 2010 06:15 AM

                        Oyster opening techniques vary by the type of oyster too. For what we see in New England, StriperGuy is spot on as usual! Also powerfulpierre is right about having them cold and "quiet" before opening. It makes a difference, trust me. If I might add a datapoint from my 30something years of opening them. 1) I have little luck with the stub nosed knives, and prefer this type for local oysters.
                        I find the curved tip helps to pop the shells apart with more leverage.
                        2) Keep a second wet dishtowel nearby. Invariably, there is some mud/dirt remaining deep in the hinge where you are wiggling the knife tip. Wipe it off on the wet towel before shoving it in to cut the abductor muscle near the top right of the bivalve. 3) and the hardest to master - is try not to cut the oyster while it's in the shell and you're getting the shells apart. Oh, and practice, practice, practice! :) In lieu of champagne, Sauvignon blanc won't usually overrun the briney goodness.

                      2. re: snifflyfro
                        joth68 May 19, 2010 07:09 AM

                        I've had good luck with the oxo oyster knife.


                        1. re: joth68
                          StriperGuy May 19, 2010 07:26 AM

                          There are a gazillion decent ones on Amazon...

                          1. re: StriperGuy
                            snifflyfro May 19, 2010 10:51 AM

                            Thanks for the tips! Going to bag the idea of getting a "gadget" and instead head over to China Fair.

                            One the side I may just go with beer...

                            China Fair
                            2100 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                            1. re: snifflyfro
                              justbeingpolite May 19, 2010 10:59 AM

                              I missed getting the oysters last night. Tonight I think I'll get some oysters, and some Little Pearl Blini, craime fraiche and caviar from Whole Foods, and make a night of it!!! I like the classic Dexter Russell New Haven Oyster knife, $14 from Legal Seafoods, but I'm sure you can find it cheaper.

                  2. j
                    joth68 May 18, 2010 08:31 AM

                    I've had good luck with the oysters at Yankee Lobster in the Seaport.

                    Yankee Lobster
                    300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

                    1. rlh May 18, 2010 08:22 AM

                      Whole Foods Fresh Pond generally has them, and New Deal in Cambridge frequently does - I expect Carl there would be willing to order what you have in mind given an advance call.

                      New Deal Fish Market
                      622 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                      Whole Foods Market
                      200 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge, MA

                      1. fmcoxe6188 May 18, 2010 05:51 AM

                        Whole Foods on Washington Street had them this weekend

                        1. steinpilz May 17, 2010 02:21 PM

                          I'm guessing that you want to shuck them at home? If so, Legal Sea Foods on Rt 9 has a little market and sells seafood retail. I'm pretty sure that they have oysters, give them a call.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: steinpilz
                            iloveporkbelly May 17, 2010 03:18 PM

                            Captain Marden's market in Wellesley usually carries a good variety of oysters for sale. Only a short trip up Rt. 9

                            Captain Marden
                            279 Linden St, Wellesley, MA 02482

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