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Specialty Oysters at Sammy's Seafood


THERE ARE LITERALLY hundreds of different varieties of oysters available to consume raw, from all over the Globe.

When considering oyster selection- Salinity
level is important, especially for someone who is an oyster “novice.” Generally speaking, people who haven’t eaten a lot of oysters will like a saltier oyster, which will have a milder oyster flavor, dulled by the higher salt content. Generally speaking, East Coast oysters are usually a little higher in salinity, simply because of the ocean’s higher salinity content in the Atlantic vs. the Pacific. All oysters are salty- the ones with the least amount of salt in the water may taste a little on the sweet side. If you were to take a West Coast oyster out of it’s shell and give it a quick rinse, depending on the location, there would be very little salt in its finish.

Species will determine different things. The Olympia oyster from the Totten Inlet in Washington State is the only one of its species. Knowing this, you can inform the guest that it is the smallest oyster available, and has a sweet, metallic flavor, as well as being a meaty oyster for its size. This would be an excellent beginner’s oyster. The Belon oyster is a species of its own as well, and even though they can be grown in different regions in the world, all Belon oysters are flat, meaty, have a very strong flavor, and not recommended for people who don’t have a lot of experience eating oysters. They are not as briny as other oysters, and have a coppery finish to them, no matter where they come from.

The Flavors and Finishes of an oyster is what really makes them stand apart. Flavor is what hits you right away, and the finish is what lingers later on. Not all oysters will have a strong finish, and some are very mild in flavor. Flavors range from sweet, buttery, lettuce and melon. Finishes can range from vegetable or seaweed to cucumber. This is where pairing with wines can really come in. All you need to know in the beginning is that the possibilities are endless, and that different people will taste different things in an oyster, just like a glass of wine.

East Coast oysters
are all the same species--grown subtidally with smooth shells--and are typically sold under regional names like Wellfleets (from Cape Cod), Blue Points [shown left] (Long Island), Chincoteagues (Virginia), and Apalachicolas (Florida). Eastern oysters tend to be milder than those farmed from the West Coast, although their taste and texture vary with location. The cold-water temperatures of New England slow down metabolism, producing slightly crisp, sweeter oysters; expect meatier, flabbier oysters with more saltiness as you work your way down the coast into warmer waters.

The only oyster species native to the Pacific Northwest
is the tiny Olympia, [shown left] named after the once-thriving oyster community in Washington's Puget Sound and a casualty of shoreline pollution and overfishing. The Olympia is making a slow comeback, and its silver-dollar size and clean, almost cucumberlike finish make it a perfect cocktail oyster.

As the Olympia went into near extinction, exotic varieties were imported from Japan: the Pacific oyster, found from southeastern Alaska to Baja, California, and later, the less prevalent Kumamoto. Both are typically grown intertidally and have rough, fluted shells. The Kumamoto oyster has plump meat with a sweet, subtle mineral flavor that is perfect for half-shell beginners. There are many regional varieties of Pacific oysters, ranging from slightly fruity with a green-apple finish to crisp and lightly salty to full-on briny with a sublime steely aftertaste.







Sammy's Seafood: 2875 46th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33714. Sales: 727.322.2460 Fax: 727.322.2462
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