Trending Now: Heroes in a Half Shell

Even if you’re a bivalve beginner, chances are you’ve slurped a Wellfleet or an Island Creek. But as more producers pop up around New England—and our oyster palates continue to expand—demand for variety has swelled at local restaurants. Here, Rich Vellante, executive chef at Legal Sea Foods, breaks down the five oysters to know right now, all of which appear regularly this summer at Legal Harborside—and soon at the company’s new Italian-style seafood spot, Legal Oysteria, which is slated to open this month in Charlestown.

oysters

Photograph by Travis Rathbone; food styling by Chris Lanier; prop styling by Natasha Louise King

1.

Glidden Point
Damariscotta River, Maine

The brackish water of the midcoast Maine river gives this bigger bivalve its butteriness and soft brininess—all told, it’s a “perfect oyster,” Vellante says.

2.

Merry
Duxbury

Duxbury Bay’s tidal variations, cold temperatures, and salinity produce balanced oysters year round.

3.

Cotuit
Cape Cod

Saltwater and freshwater estuaries come together in Cotuit Bay, where the tidal changes and marshland help purify and feed the namesake oysters, leaving them with mineral, vegetal notes.

4.

Wianno
Cape Cod

The sturdy shells and deep cups of these salty-sweet bivalves come from careful tumbling and handling by Dave Ryan and his team, who farm both Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay.

5.

Katama Bay
Martha’s Vineyard

Grown in swift currents that sandblast the shells white, these rich, meaty oysters from a variety of small producers are briny with a sweet finish.

Up-and-Coming

Terroir
Barnstable Harbor

With its abundant creeks, algae, and space for fresh- and saltwater interaction, Barnstable Harbor “is just magical for oysters,” says Island Creek’s Dana Hale. Of the dedicated growers there producing buttery bivalves with big cups, standout varieties include Moon Shoals, Spring Creeks, and Beach Points.

bar

Hungry for more?

Check out our complete “Seafood Lover’s Guide.”

ADVERTISMENT