If you’ve never shucked an oyster before & you’re curious and want to try, let’s do it together in this step by step guide of shucking & serving raw oysters
Have you ever had one of those days were you’re itching for something fancy to eat, but getting out of your pjs is not an option; making the trek to the restaurant during rush hour can be annoying and sitting there being served and forced to conversate? Nuh-uh. This is definitely the introverted side in me talking and sadly, this happens to me more often than not! haha
The bonus from all of this is, you learn how to cook or make something awesome yourself, and it’s usually a fraction of the cost. Yes!
What’s this food I was itching for you ask? Oysters! Oysters are one of my all time favourite foods. I love them raw, stir fried, steamed in hotpot – every possible way but today will be about the raw way.
I don’t know about you but for the longest time, I used to find it very intimidating to pry these little things open and fiddle around with the tools and potentially stab myself in the hand, but honestly after you do this 12+ times you will be a pro at it!
Shall we learn how to do this together? Let’s start! 🙂
HOW TO PICK & STORE THEM
Use your Eyes
When you are buying the oysters make sure none of them are opened, cracked or ajar. The shell should be sealed shut. If it’s opened, throw it out, it has gone bad and probably smells pretty funky!
Use your Nose
You normally can’t smell an oyster if it is sealed closed, but if it is cracked, or even slightly opened, it’s probably dead and you will smell it. What does it smell like? It will smell like something you don’t want to put in your mouth. A rotted off-putting smell.
Tidbit: If you’re wondering why opened oysters are bad, it’s because when an oyster is alive it has the strength to pull the shells together shut. When it dies, the muscle relaxes and therefore the shells open up!
Store them in a cold and dry place. You can keep them on a plate or bowl in the fridge until you are ready to shuck and eat them.
SAFETY & TOOLS
Before we start make sure you have a thick kitchen towel, you will be using the towel to hold the oyster in place and to protect your hands.
Next you will need a good shucking tool. You want to find a shucker that is slightly pointy. Shucker tips that are too rounded will not allow you to jab into the opening with precision and you will end up just peeling off shell bits. Refrain from using a sharp knife, it’s dangerous and you don’t need it to be *that* pointy to get the job done right 🙂
First, let’s get this myth out of the way. You don’t need super human strength to do this. Essentially, all we are doing is getting the tool in the right spot and prying it opened with a series of wiggling and see-sawing motions — you’ll need some force but not a lot.
- First, let’s clean them! Grab a bristley brush, kitchen brush or old toothbrush and clean the outsides of the shell under running water really well. Get all the nooks and crannies, unless you like the taste of sand and grit! 😛
- Now, let’s look at the oyster’s shape, there will be a bottom and a top. The bottom of the oyster is rounded like a round belly (this is where the oyster meat actually sits) and the top would be the flatter side of the shell.
- Place the oyster on the towel flat side up.
- Now we need to figure out which end to pry open. I find the easiest way to do this is to find the ‘hinge’ of the oyster. That is where you wan’t to pry, like the image below.
- Now we will wrap the towel around the oyster and place it somewhere secure where it won’t slip around. If you are using a cutting board as your working surface, make sure you put something under the cutting board so it doesn’t slide around.
- Next we will poke the ‘hinge’ where the top of the shell meets the bottom of the shell with the shucker. You should see a small gap here. Your goal is to have the tool deep enough that if you let go of the shucker it will be stuck into the oyster hinge.
- Once you have the shucker in position, you will push firmly towards the oyster and wiggle it up and down in prying motion. You should feel a ‘pop’ when you get it open.
- Once you see a small opening, wiggle the shucker 90 degrees into the opening to open it up a bit more.
- It’s not over yet! The oyster has 2 muscles holding it together still. You will need to run the blade along the sides of the shells wiggling lightly to open it up a bit more. Then run the blade along the top of the shell to cut the first muscle to get the top shell off.
Congrats we opened up a oyster! You can’t eat them yet! They are still attached to the shell on the bottom by their second muscle. You will need to run the shucker along the bottom of the shell to cut the second muscle as well.
Ta-da! We did it! *High Five!*
Tip #1: Don’t throw out the liquid inside the shell! Most people call this an elixir (oOooOOo mysterious & fancy!). To me, it’s just tasty salty briny ocean water! 🙂
IMPORTANT: Make sure you smell the oyster before you eat or serve it. It should smell like the ocean, fresh! A bad oyster will have a VERY off-putting rotting smell, throw those out. If you accidentally eat a bad oyster, take a shot of alcohol! Will it work? I don’t know, but it’s fun!
LET’S FANCY THIS UP WITH SAUCES
Oysters have a very light and delicate flavour, so it doesn’t need a lot of sauce. A tiny dash of sauce goes a long way. The key here is to enhance the flavour, not mask it. 🙂
These recipes will make more than enough sauce, I made 3 different types for variety and fun but you can stick to 1 if you like! You can cut the ingredients in half as well.
MIGNONETTE – This is a lightly tart and sweet oniony vinaigrette. Traditionally, there is no sweetener in this but I find the maple syrup lightens up that strong tart flavour that masks the oyster flavour. This one is my favourite.
CLASSIC – This is your classic cocktail seafood sauce. For anyone that wants to play it safe. 🙂
ASIAN SOY LIME – This is a limey, mildy spicy, soy dressing sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. Terry’s favourite.
To serve these, place them on a bed of crushed ice on a pretty plate or tray (preferably one with a lip so that the melted ice doesn’t seep everywhere). The crushed ice holds them in place, keeps them cool and it looks pretty!
You will be able to find almost all these ingredients at a local supermarket.
If you don’t have maple syrup, you can substitute it with honey.
That’s all there is to it! 🙂 Enjoy it with some friends, impress people, or just do it because you can! Then eat all of it yourself! 😀
Show us some oysters at #pupswithchopsticks
3 flavourful sauces for freshly raw shucked oysters
- 1/2 shallot (minced)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
Classic Cocktail Sauce
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1-2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lemon wedge of juice
Asian Soy Lime Dressing
- 1/2 green onion (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 lime wedge of juice
- Mignonette, Classic Cocktail & Asian Soy Lime Sauces for Raw Oysters
- Enjoy with freshly shucked oysters! 🙂
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