So a recent entery to my 2005 uberlist was to show my partner how to shuck an oyster at home. We randomly found some Pacific BBQ Oysters at Whole Foods today and his eyes lit up and he all but shouted in one long streaming sentence:
"wecouldbuyoystersandtakethemhome! - andyoucouldshowmehowtoopenthem!"
I'd never had this variety, but they were large-shelled and the joints were easy to view - I figured it was a good "starter oyster" for him. I grinned like a kid, agreed happily, politely shunned the first bottle of "cocktail sauce" he picked up, and showed him the Mr. Today's brand with horseradish and a mean kick.
And lo and behold there was an oyster knife nearby to purchase as well, sort of necessary, and really the only thing keeping me from buying oysters hence.
Anyway, it was funny watching the checker try to hide her profound digust. She couldn't resist her "but they taste like the ocean" comment, which brought back fond memories of scuba diving in college. In truth, she's right. They do. But each species has their own unique twist. This comment was met with another dubious look. We tilted our bag of ocean booty at her in thanks, and we were off.
After some ooohs and ahhhs while demonstrating for him once we got home and chilled up the oysters - he soon had toweled oyster in hand, and oyster knife at the ready. Then the cursing started. Then the "I can't believe this" and "this cheap piece of..." The curse? The oyster knife made by Oxo. Don't go there. Bad. When we were done with 12 oysters it looked more like taffy than a blade.
Anyway, after cleaning and chilling your oysters for about an hour, make sure all are tightly closed. Discard those that aren't. Place an oyster with the flatter side up in a towel so the pointed end (hinge of the oyster shell) is facing you. Oyster shells can be rough, pointy, or slippery - hence, that towel. Get a good grip on the oyster and place the tip of your oyster knife in the hinge - look for a good spot (there's usually a very visual gap), but if you get a crumbly spot move to another one. Wedge the tip of the blade into the hinge, then push and twist the knife until the hinge separates (sometimes with a satisfying "pop"). Open the oyster and slide the blade under the meat of the top half to cut the muscle and meat away from the shell. Do the same with the bottom. Pick out any bits of shell (but try to save the juice!). It gets easier with practice. Really!
All told - a mixed experience preparation-wise. There was the first-timer shell-shattering, an oyster down the kitchen sink, and oh yes, there was the cursing, but all in all I think he'd be very interested in trying the seasonal varities in the future. Now we just need a better knife....Posted by adam on January 09, 2005 | TrackBack