Last week, we posted a round-up of our favorite oyster bars in Brooklyn. But if you’re craving the briny, slurp-worthy creatures from the sea, you don’t need to be waited on at all; live oysters can be found at fish markets to take home and shuck.
Be warned: oyster shucking is not a delicate process. But the challenge of shucking them open yourself can be just as fun as eating the results. Sure, you could always ask the fishmonger at one of the reputable markets listed below to shuck the oysters for you instead; but that would mean schlepping oyster meat removed from their pearly shells. And once you get the hang of cracking them open with a shucker — a sturdy blunt-edged knife — you might not want to stop. Aside from the shucker, which can be found at most any kitchen store (such as The Brooklyn Kitchen), you’ll want to stock up on dish towels, too. Grab a pack of a dozen or so absorbent, white cloths, or bar mops, to sop up your “raw bar” at home.
Place the oyster bowled side-down on a clean towel and pad your palm with another towel to grip the top shell with. Locate the small, V-shaped hinge on one end of the oyster. Pressing down firmly on the oyster with your swathed hand, plunge the tip of the shucker straight into that hinge. Once the tip is lodged inside the oyster, twist the handle back and forth until the shell pops open. Trace the edge of the oyster with the shucker to separate the shells, and cut the meat clinging to the top shell with the side of the shucker before discarding it. Now, loosen the meat from the bottom shell of the oyster, try to eliminate any pieces of dirt or broken shell bits, and serve.
Like with anything, oyster shucking gets easier with practice. It’s also easier when you put your guests up to the task. And making a traditional mignonette is nothing more than adding some finely chopped shallots to a small bowl of red wine vinegar. So dig into oyster shucking while local oyster season is still here. Here are some Brooklyn fishmongers to find fresh oysters from right now:
Blue Moon Fish
Location: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (Saturdays, 8-3pm)
Type/Price: Seasonal Long Island varieties / $9/dozen
Greene Grape Provisions
Location: 753 Fulton St. (Fort Greene)
Type/Price: East Coast varieties from W&T Seafood / varying prices around $2/piece
Location: 191 Court St. (Carroll Gardens)
Type/Price: Long Island Blue Points / $15/dozen
Metropolitan Fish Market
Location: 635 Metropolitan Ave. (Williamsburg)
Types: Virginia, Connecticut, Long Island and West Coast varieties
Prices: East Coast oysters – $12/dozen, West Coast oysters – $15/dozen
Locations: 756 Union St. & 402-404 Seventh Ave. (Park Slope), 288 Court St. (Boerum Hill)
Types: East Coast varieties including Blue Point and Sewanescott
Prices: $1 – $1.49/each
Park Slope Seafood:
Location: 215 7th Ave. (Park Slope)
Type/Price: Long Island Blue Points / $10/dozen
Location: 480 Van Brunt St. (Red Hook)
Type/Price: Long Island Blue Points / $1/each