Today is a day for clichés, so for this Valentine’s Day, I am going to share with you how to shuck an oyster. Someone out there will be eating raw oysters and shucking for the first time today. If not done correctly, you can damage the meat, get shell in with the oyster, or worse, you can cut yourself badly.
It took me a long time to appreciate the raw oyster (after an awful bout of red tide), but now I whole-heartedly enjoy the experience.
How to shuck:
1. Make sure oysters are still alive by checking that their shells are tightly closed.
2. Scrub oysters with a stiff brush under running water.
3. Hold oyster in the palm of your hand with a towel so that you don’t accidentally cut yourself. Work over a bowl so that you can catch the oyster’s juices.
4. Position the oyster in your hand with the cup-side down – so that its curved shell faces down and its flatter side faces up
5. Insert a paring or oyster knife between the shells, near the hinge.
6. Twist the knife so that the oyster’s muscles are detached.
7. Remove the top shell.
8. Scrape the meat from the top shell into the bottom shell.
9. Use the knife to cut the oyster from the bottom shell, or serve it on the half shell on a bed of ice or rock salt.
How to season:
Here are some seasoning ideas that I learned from Curious Oyster Catering.
Any and all of these would be delicious with your raw oysters. Try different ones and remember to not overdo it, otherwise you will no longer taste the natural flavour of the oysters.
- lemon/lemon zest and coarse salt (Be creative with your salt. These days there are many different types of salt on the market; for a good variety try Sea to Sky Seasonings)
- mignonette sauce – fresh cracked pepper, minced shallots, and red wine vinegar
- fresh grated horseradish (my personal favourite)
- small teaspoon of fresh tomato salsa or salsa verde
- a few drops of tabasco sauce
- homemade cocktail sauce
Look out for more oyster seasoning recipes to come in future posts.
For the sustainable seafood choice, select farmed oysters.
Sources: eHow Food