Holiday Oyster Photos - Thanks for sharing!

We love receiving photos from our readers showcasing the oysters they eat. Feel free to send yours to us at josh@goshuckanoyster.com and we'll add them to our blog from time to time. Here are some recent submissions:

The DiGiammarino Family sent in a photo from "our second annual Feast of the Seven Fishes. We enjoyed twice as many oysters this year - Island Creek, Moon Shoal and Beach Point. To round out the meal, we also enjoyed shrimp, smoked salmon, calamari, scallops, conch, and mussels. Yum."  What a great family!




Mrs. Spencer (sideways - sorry, I couldn't figure out how to turn the picture) shared with us her empty plate after enjoying oysters at  her home in Maine. (we hope the three extra oysters were consumed!) I  had the opportunity to meet her last year at the B and G Oyster Fest.  Being a seafood family, a picture of her daughter Lesley is below, posing with a lobster roll when she worked at Five Island Seafood years ago in Maine.


Finally, our very own Rachel, shucked this wonderful plate of Island Creek Oysters at a recent house party. Rachel learned to shuck oysters at a class offered at Mercato del Mare in Boston, MA.

We hope your holidays are filled with happiness and oysters. Please feel free to share your photos with us, during the holiday and throughout the year.

Old Catonsville: Oyster lovers appreciate shucker's skill Wednesday nights

(Photo by Maggie Schorr)
Frank Welsh started shucking oysters when he was 13 years old. "My father taught me and my two brothers. He taught me to shuck a 'pretty' oyster," said Welsh, who has taught his son and grandson the craft.

The 68-year-old Welsh shucks oysters and clams every Wednesday night at Chef Paolino's, 726 Frederick Road, for dozens of regulars and first timers. He also shucks at events at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie and at private parties.

He said he makes the weekly drive in from Sussex County Delaware, for his "best friend," Paul Delfico, the owner of the Catonsville restaurant. "Shucking oysters is an art," he said. "I make it look like a picture, with no shells and no holes."

The Wednesday evening raw bar features plump, cold, oysters and clams from the Tangier Sound served with cocktail sauce, lemon or hot sauce.

Regulars come from all over the metro area, including Dundalk, Pikesville and Highlandtown.

Welsh recalls one customer who so enjoyed the offerings that he ate 11 dozen oysters in one sitting.

By Maggie Schorr, MaggieSchorr@comcast.net
8:50 PM EST, December 18, 2011

Posted with permission.  Original story online at: 

Old Catonsville: Oyster lovers appreciate shucker's skill Wednesday nights

Happy Bivalvus!

December 10th is Bivalvus day on Cape Cod:



Happy Bivalvus to all those who celebrate!

The Atlantic launches late-night Oyster bar

Oyster lovers can now enjoy can enjoy the pick of Australia’s best rock, flat and black-lipped oysters at the newly opened Champagne and Oyster Bar at The Atlantic at Crown Melbourne.


Newly opened Champagne and Oyster Bar at The Atlantic at The Crown sets up as the Southern Hemisphere's own Oyster shrine

Open until 1am, seven nights a week, Champagne and Oyster Bar centres around the thrill of oyster serving seasonal stand outs that include varieties such as the sweet St Helen’s Moulting Bay, the salty Coffin Bay, the creamy Dunalley shucked to order. Menu staples include oyster shots, the classic Kilpatrick and chef Donovan Cooke’s tempura oyster.

Oysters are accompanied with chilled  Friend & Burrell Superior Osetra Caviar by the spoon and an extensive menu of champagnes, beers and wines, including preferred champagne Laurent Perrier.


Launch event at The Atlantic's Champagne and Oyster bar

Champagne and Oyster Bar executive chef, Donovan Cooke has created a bar menu that includes hot snacks like yakitori skewers, tempura soft shell crab with jalapeño ponzu and the classic Atlantic seafood chowder.

“I wanted to stick with exceptional ingredients, simply and quickly prepared to order. That is the heart of a great bar experience,” said Donovan.

“It’s about serving food that is casual, fast and most importantly bloody good.”


Launch event at The Atlantic's Champagne and Oyster bar

Informal bar and table seating, along with a flaming purple banquette for larger groups have been designed to cater for groups of all sizes and is all complete with in-house DJs and a VIP private room.

Positioned to take in the Yarra River views, the bar oversees an intriguing series of illuminated steps that lead down into The Den, a subterranean New York style bar devised for any combination of nightcap and late-night rendezvous.

“Start with oysters upstairs and see what happens downstairs,” said Hatem Saleh, managing director of the Atlantic Group of Companies advising guests wanting to experience the new bar.

For more information visit www.theatlantic.com.au

Original article online at: www.spicenews.com.au/2011/11/29/article/The-Atlantic-launches-late-night-Oyster-bar/SGOQHGFSIX.html 

Oyster Stuffing for Turkey

We always love when readers send us their favorite oyster recipes, stories, pictures, etc.  Here is a recent email from John C for you to enjoy this Thanksgiving:

For those who want to add a flair to turn that often-bland turkey stuffing into a special treat on Thanksgiving Day, Grand Central Oyster Bar executive chef Sandy Ingber offers Oyster Stuffing for "Turkey-Day." Chef Ingber also recommends Bay Scallops Scampi as an appetizer for the Thanksgiving Day feast, and that recipe is also below, as well.

Oyster Stuffing for Turkey

Yield: enough stuffing for 1 Turkey

Ingredients:

1# loaf of white bread, cut into ½" cubes
2 cups medium diced Spanish onions
1 cup med diced celery
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cup chicken stock
¼ cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
24 pieces of shucked Bluepoint oysters

Directions:

1) Dry cut bread cubes overnight or toast in a low temp oven until crisp. Melt ½ the butter in a medium skillet. Add onions and celery, cooking until onions are translucent about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme and nutmeg; cook for 30 seconds more.

2) Combine cooked vegetables with bread cubes, parsley, stock, milk and eggs, mixing gently. Fold in Oysters. Season with salt and pepper. This stuffing can be made up to 2 days in advance. If not stuffing into poultry for roasting, transfer mixture to a large oiled baking dish, dot surface with pats of remaining butter. Take a piece of wax paper and lightly oil both sides and place of top of stuffing. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crisp on top and stuffing temperature reaches 160 degrees.

NOTE:

This stuffing can keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. First remove oysters then transfer stuffing to a microwaveable dish and reheat in microwave to 140 degrees. Add oysters back in to dish a microwave for 1 more minute. Serve immediately.

Pan Fried Nantucket Bay Scallops Scampi


Ingredients

2# unwashed fresh Nantucket Bay Scallops
1 tablespoon white wine
4 ounces Feta cheese, cut into small chunks 1 avocado, large diced
Spaghetti Squash, recipe follows
Fresh arugula, for garnish

Preparation

-Place 2/3 of the scampi butter in a large saute pan over high heat and melt.

-Add in bay scallops and cook for about 1 minute, moving them around in the pan.

-Sizzle with the white wine and cook for just another minute more.

-Remove from heat and stir in the remaining scampi butter, Feta cheese, and avocado
chunks.

-Serve over hot spaghetti squash and garnish with fresh arugula.

Scampi Butter Ingredients:

1/4 # unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash ground white pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce

Pan Fried Nantucket Bay Scallops Scampi

1 lemon, juiced

Preparation

-In a bowl with a wire whisk, mix together all ingredients until well
blended.

Spaghetti Squash directions


-Cut 1 large Spaghetti Squash in half the long ways.

-Remove seeds with a spoon.

-Place the 2 halves of squash, cut side down, on a sheet pan and add enough warm
Water to fill up about ½ inch on sides.

-Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until skin feels soft.

-Immediately remove from oven and flip the squash over, being careful because they
will be hot, but you don’t want the squash to absorb the water on pan.

-Gently use a fork to separate the strands of spaghetti squash.


Special thanks to John C. for providing the information above.

Oysters for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Here is a list of our top five places to choose from to order your oysters for Thanksgiving and Christmas:

Island Creek Oysters
www.islandcreekoyster.com
781-934-2028
- Fresh oysters from Duxbury, MA, razor clams by the pound, or try the "Yankee Thanksgiving sampler" which contains one dozen of three oyster varieties (Island Creeks, Moon Shoals, and Chathams) from Cape Cod, a shucking knife and gloves.  With all that other food, three dozen is the perfect amount to add to your Thanksgiving wherever you live.

American Mussel Harvesters
www.americanmussel.com
401-294-8999
- Live mussels, oysters and clams shipped daily fast and fresh.
- Read a review from our blog


Taylor Shellfish Farms
www.taylorshellfishfarms.com
360-432-3300
- Fresh shellfish from the Pacific Northwest including: oysters, clams, mussels and geoduck.
- Read a review from our blog.

Farm 2 Market - F2M
www.farm-2-market.com
800-477-2967
- Your order will leave the farm and arrive the next morning to your kitchen, anywhere in America.
- Enter Promotional Code: GoShuck to receive a free oyster shucking knife.
- Read a review from our blog.

H.M. Terry Company, Inc.
www.hmterryco.com
757-442-7777
- Fresh ocean oysters and clams from VA. 
- Read a review from our blog.

Don't forget your oyster shucking knife and glove.  Pick up a few for yourself and your holiday guests. 

Happy holidays!

Book Signing: Shucked.

If you live in the Northeast, you had a few good options to get your fill of oysters today.  Our staff split up with Adam covering the great Wellfleet Oyster Fest in Wellfleet, MA and some of us went to the Barnes & Noble in Hingham, MA to hear Erin Byers Murray as she read from her new book, "Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm".

                          erin murray shucked

Having just received the book last night, I am only on chapter 3, so I'll have my complete review sometime next week.  For now, I can tell you that it has alreadly exceeded my expectations as it has my mind wandering toward the water picturing Erin and her crew culling (sorting) oysters.  Having visited and toured many oyster farms, I was very familiar with this sorting process but I had missed an important point that perhaps separates the good farmers from the best farmers.  During the sorting process, Erin let us know that she wasn't just sorting by size but also looking for cracks in the shell, hollow shells that signify dead oysters, and even thinking about how the oyster would sit on a plate at the restaurant it would ultimately be delivered to.  I'm really looking forward to finding the time to finish this book.

After the book reading and speaking with Erin for a few minutes, more than half of the crowd walked a few steps over to Jasper White's Summer Shack for oysters and to discuss the book.  It had been a while since I had been to one of Jasper's restaurants; what a mistake, as I really enjoyed everything I ate.  All of us enjoyed the mussels cooked in fra diavlo sauce.  We used every inch of our bread to soak up as much of the sauce as we could.  The peel and eat shrimp, cooked in a mesh bag that had been steamed to perfection with old bay, celery and onions, were very tasty and fun to eat.  The selection of oysters was impressive but the prices tend to be on the higher side.  We ate Onset oysters today that come from Buzzards Bay. They were plump, salty, and had hints of seaweed taste.  "Very yummy," as wife says.

Erin has several book signings and events coming up.  I suggest attending one and getting your copy of her booked signed.  This young author's signature will probably be worth a lot someday, especially if that signature is on her first book.  For a list of upcoming book signings and events, visit Erin's blog by clicking here.  The book is a great buy for those who know nothing about oysters, to the oyster aficionado, and especially for anyone who ever thought about leaving a job to experience something different or something more satisfying.
All above photography by Michael Ira Thayer.
 

Mass Oyster Project and Mayflower Brewery

Many of us enjoy oysters with beer.  Recently, the folks from the Massachusetts Oyster Project (MOP) held an event at the Mayflower Brewing Company for an afternoon of just that, oysters and beers.

Here is a video from the event:



Rumor has it that the two groups will be getting together again in the future to repeat the event with more oysters.  To stay up-to-date on events organized by the Massachusetts Oyster Project, follow them on Facebook or read the MOP blog online by clicking here.  

If you would like us to post news about your oyster related event, please send your stories (including any pictures, links and videos) to josh@goshuckanoyster.com for consideration.  There is no fee for this service, we just love to spread the word about oyster happenings around the world.

Tongue-in-Cheek Oyster News

If you are someone who looks for information about oysters online and you have not found the work of Richard Rush yet, you've been missing out.  With his new tongue-in-cheek approach on Facebook, information about oysters is accessible in a new, fun, and entertaining format.  His most recent writings include "Child's Pet Oyster Escapes" and "Monster Oyster from Outer Space is a Proven Hoax".  'Like' his Facebook page to receive his information.  As of today, he has 12 Likes.  I'm willing to bet a dozen oysters that Oyster Information Newsletter will have triple digit 'Likes' soon.

Once you've done your homework, try your luck with his free oyster exam.  If you do well, you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing.

For those into crossword puzzles and oysters, Richard Rush designed an oyster-related crossword that I trust you'll enjoy.

And, for those still with questions about shucking oysters at home, check out his The Home Shucking News for the missing information you've been looking for.

I hope you enjoy Richard's Oyster Information as much as we do.  Let us know by posting a comment below.

Rome’s Leading Oyster Aficionada: Emanuela Gismondi of Tuna

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

Italy has so much coastline and so many lakes. How could the country not produce great oysters?

That was out thinking when Michael and I planned our summer road trip from Rome southward to Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

We knew we could find oysters on the menus of  Italy’s leading restaurants. But when we first arrived in Rome, we found only Bélons from Brittany.

While Bélons happen to be among our favorites, after last summer’s road trip through Halifax and Prince Edward Island, we longed for some variety.

Unfortunately, Our concierge at Hotel de la Ville Roma  did not have a clue where to find a restaurant with a selection of oysters in the Eternal City.  So Michael and I  spent our next few days wandering around the city, inquiring – in vain -- about oysters.

One evening over cocktails at our hotel’s Emperor Terrace bar, we watched the sun set and the stars emerge. Enjoying the view of Saint Peter’s in the distance, we began to eavesdrop on our fellow guests.  Soon, we overheard a local businessman giving restaurant advise to clients who were staying at the hotel. 

Should we admit to eavesdropping and ask for advice? 

Absolutely!

Tuna in Rome
We picked the right man, as he frequented a restaurant called Tuna, which specializes in shellfish and seafood.

“You need to speak with Emanuela Gismondi,” he said with an air of certainty.  “She knows more about oysters than anyone in Italy.”

I sent Emanuela an introductory e-mail message and she quickly responded, inviting us to Tuna the following evening.

Located on the Via Veneto just off Piazza Barberini, Tuna is simply Tuna Romealluring.  The ice filled window display of today’s fresh offerings from the sea beckons you in.  Elevated just behind a huge steel basin of seafood, the chef is busy working his magic – much to the delight of people strolling by.

Tuna restaurantThe restaurants all-white interior removes any distractions from the purpose of your visit – the most creatively prepared raw shellfish and seafood in Rome.

Minutes after a waiter seated us on white couches in the Oyster Bar – just across from the chef’s station, Emanuela came out to greet us.

“I apologize.  I only have four varieties of oysters today.  We usually try to have at least seven,” she told us.  “It has been a busy weekend.”

I assured her that we would be delighted with “only four.”

Suggesting we pair the oysters with champagne, Emanuela selected one of our favorites:  a nonvintage Gosset Brut Excellence.  Although Tuna has one of Rome's best wine lists, we stayed with champagne throughout our visit.


As we sipped the Gosset, we asked Emanuela about her clientele.

“We have a lot of politicians and business leaders.” she said.  “They deserve the very best
seafood.”  And, relying on Emanuela and her staff, that is what they enjoy at Tuna.

“One of our clients was so impressed with our oysters, he insisted I write a book about them,” she mentioned.  The book is due out later this summer.  (Unfortunately for us, it will only be available in Italian).

On the day of our visit, the featured oysters included Bélons, Marie Morgans, Speciales d’Utah Beaches and Royale d'Isigny.

Brittany Royale d'Isigny Bay VeysStarting from the top of the platter were a pair of Marie Morgans from Brittany.  Meaty and crunchy, strong and flavorful, the oysters were perfectly complemented by the Gosset, as well as Emanuela’s ruby red mignonette sauce.

Moving clockwise, the next pair were the Royale d'Isigny.  We loved the uniquely sweet taste of these soft meaty oysters from the Bay of Veys in Northern Normandy.

Next were the plump Speciales d’Utah Beach from Normandy.  They were  were succulent and briny, with a sweet, almost creamy taste.

And finally, a pair of the petite Bélons from Southern Brittany, These firm fleshy oysters were immensely flavorful, very briny yet slightly sweet, with a almost gentle flavor.

Each type of oyster was uniquely different – and wonderful.  We were definitely in the right place

Tuna’s well deserved reputation is due in great part to Emanuela’s meticulous talent in selecting the items which appear on her ever changing menu.  Three times a week she gets up at dawn and makes her way to the Mercati Generali.  There she has her choice of the freshest shellfish and seafood from all over Europe.

Although we had planned on just sampling the oysters, Emanuela insisted we try some of her amazing house specialties.

Carpaccio di Pesce BiancoHer first offering was a beautifully plated Tartare di Ricciola (amberkack) and Carpaccio di Pesce Bianco (sea bass).

The nicely chunked pink amberjack in the center of the plate presented an incredibly sweet flavor.  The tartare perfectly complemented the thinly sliced sweet sea bass.  Truly a remarkable – and beautiful - combination of fish and flavors.

Carpaccio di GamberoniWatching us savor the carpaccio, Emanuela asked, “Have you ever had shrimp carpaccio?”  Before we could answer, she nodded to the chef, who began to prepare.

From across the room, Michael and I watched as the chef selected, prepared, butterflied and marinated the shrimp, before he gently pressed them down between the sheets to shape his Carpaccio di Gamberoni Rossi.

The waiter bought the dish over for Michael to photograph, and then offered just a hint of fresh ground pepper.

I meant to ask Emanuela about the marinade – specifically about the olive oil she used.  But after my first sweet mellow taste of this elegant carpaccio, my mind wandered.  The freshness of the shrimp was distracting. 

Another glass of the Gosset appeared as if by magic.  Again, the perfect complement to this wonderfully presented house special.

Drawing our evening to a close, we thanked Emanuela for a truly remarkable experience.

“But, how can you leave without trying our pasta?”

Obviously, we could not, especially since all of Tuna’s pasta is hand made.Pasta alle Vongole

In minutes, a plate of Pasta alle Vongole, wonderfully plated with an abundance of fresh clams, appeared at the table.

Rand HochWhile Michael was fascinated with the rhomboid shaped pasta, I was impressed with the abundance and the freshness of the claims.  And again, I was so distracted, I forgot to ask about the olive oil that brought it all together.

That just gives me yet another reason to return to Tuna next time I am in Rome.

Tuna Restaurant
11, Via Veneto - Rome
Phone:  +39.06.42.01.65.31
www.tunaroma.it


All above photography by Michael Ira Thayer.

Old Ebbitt Grill - The Place for Oysters in Washington, DC

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

When I was a student at Georgetown back in the 1970s, every now and then friends and I would gather at Old Ebbett Grill near 14th and F Streets, Northwest.  While the restaurant had been a local institution since the 1850s, by the time I arrived in town, it had fallen on hard times.  Still, we would sit at the great mahogany bar, enjoy burgers and beers, and relish in the history of Washington’s oldest tavern.

So when a friend and I were attending a White House conference last week (I just love saying that!), he suggested we stop by Old Ebbet Grill for lunch. 

I didn’t know what to expect and started to head over towards 14th Street.  Steering me in another direction,  he informed me that the restaurant moved in the early 1980s.  It is now conveniently located in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building on 15th Street, across from the Treasury Department.


The restaurant, which is now flourishing, is simply amazing and its Oyster Bar is Washington’s best place for oysters. 


Once seated, our waiter handed us the Oyster Menu, which he explained changes daily. 

Today’s menu featured six northeastern varieties, so we ordered two of each – a dozen for $23.95.

As can be expected, Wellfleets were on the platter and ours were just perfect, quite plump and briny.

Ever since last summer’s road trip to Prince Edward Island, I have become extremely partial to the island’s oysters.  So I was pleased to find Rocky Bays, Conway Royals and my favorite Raspberry Points on the platter.  They were all almost just as sweet as they were last summer when we would get them fresh from the water. 

New Brunswick was represented on the platter by two small, brown-shelled St. Simons, which slightly less briny than the PEI oysters, but tasted almost as sweet. 


The final selections were nicely sized East Beach Blondes from Ninigret Pond in Rhode Island.  These were crisp, with a sweet buttery finish.

If we did not have to head back to the White House, I would have spent a little more time exploring more of the menu, and the restaurant.  But that will have to wait until my next visit.

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20005-5702
(202) 347-4800
www.ebbitt.com