At first, shucking oysters can be difficult. Just as any other skill, practice does in fact make perfect. As you move through some oysters, you will get better with every tasty oyster you open and remove.
What You Need:
- Short knife or thin-edged instrument (or butter knife)
- Rag or kitchen towel (or oven mitt)
- Bowl of ice for shucked oysters
- Trash receptacle for shells and other debris
When you pick up an oyster, you will notice that there are two sides. One side is flatter than the other side. You will use the rag, oven mitt, or towel to grasp the more cup-like side. The shells can be sharp, so be cautious.
Opening the Shells
Look at the hinge of the oyster. You can see parts of the hinge that are sealed better than the rest. Take your knife and insert the thin edge into the hinge close to the seal section. (Some individuals will place the oyster on a flat surface and hold it in place while inserting the thin edge of the instrument.)
Once the tip of the knife or other instrument is wedged in between the shells, you will then begin to shimmy the instrument from the beginning side to the other. Do not go into deep as you will mangle the oyster inside the shell.
Once on the other end of the oyster, you will then pry it or pop it open with a prying motion using the instrument. You are able to use a twisting motion as well to perform the popping.
Once the Shells are Apart
When the shells are separated, there is an empty side and the side with the oyster. You will notice how the oyster is stuck to the shell. You will take the knife or instrument to scrape the oyster off of its shell. Place them into the bowl of ice.
For additional flavor, you can squeeze some lemon juice onto them. If you like dipping sauces, then you can serve them with Tabasco sauce or cocktail sauce. Both are extremely popular. To make homemade cocktail sauce, combine ketchup and horseradish until you achieve the desired flavor. For an adult drink, serve champagne.
Other popular sauces are mignonette sauce and Serrano Chile lime sauce. Mignonette sauce is drizzled on top of the oysters before they are eaten. It is made by mincing shallot with ¼ cup of champagne vinegar, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Serrano Chile lime sauce has a small kick to it. Mince Serrano Chile with two tablespoons of lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt, cilantro that has been chopped fine, and pepper (pepper is optional). Drizzle it on top of the oysters before they are served; you can also use it as a dipping sauce.
Oysters are very popular and can be served with any side dish of your choosing; however, lemon rice is trendy among most oyster eaters. Experiment with sauces, side dishes, and drinks. There is no wrong way to eat an oyster.