Icy cold oysters with a glass of white or champagne is a match made in heaven. A fancy restaurant is not the only place you can have your oysters at now. You can enjoy this culinary delight at your home with your loved ones without worrying about what people will think about the speed you devour the oysters. Although it is easy to buy and bring oysters home from the market, shucking is a bit of work taking some effort. This article will give you step-by-step instructions to shuck your oysters like a pro.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and put your oysters into it. Shucking all the oysters will take a bit of time and immersing them in the ice water will help to keep them fresh doesn’t matter how much of time it takes.
You can remove the muscles of the oyster completely from the shell or serve with a half. If you are planning to remove the muscles completely out from the shell, get a big bowl, fill it with ice and sprinkle it with salt. Place a smaller ball in that ice-filled big bowl to put the removed muscles and liquor. In case you are serving a half shell, fill a flat tray with ice and place the oysters without spilling the liquor.
You need an oyster knife, a special dull-pointed, thick-bladed knife to suck the oysters. A table knife or a suitable alternative will also get the job done. Take an old towel or a washcloth and fold it to brace the oyster while shucking. You can also use an oven mitten. Oyster shucking can be messy sometimes so remember to use an old cloth or a mitten.
Have a bin near you to put the unwanted shells. Take the oyster and try to identify the sides. One side will be cupped and it is the bottom of the oyster. The flat side is the top. Most of the time, it is not difficult to distinguish the sides.
Place the oyster on the towel with the cupped side on the bottom. Identify the hinge point (The point where to shells are fixed) and place it on your dominant side. If you are right-handed, have it in the right or if you are left-handed have it in the left.
Fold the towel over the oyster exposing only the hinge point. Hold the oyster from your non-dominant hand and cover-up that hand as much as possible with the towel by gathering it around. If the knife slips, the towel should be able to protect your hand.
The hinge is where you need to focus when shucking an oyster. This is not about pushing the hardest you can but find a spot you can easily apply some pressure on both shells. When you find such a spot, twist and pry. Your knife should move up and down as well as twisting and rotating. The shell will open with a pop sound if you do it right. It takes time for a beginner to find the right spot but with time you will get the grasp of it.
With the pop sound, the shell will open but that opening will not be wide enough to get the muscle out. You have to run the blade around the separate the shells. Before this step, clean your blade as it might have some mud on it by now although you cleaned it well. With a clean blade, you can go inside the shell again and open it.
There is a muscle connecting the top and bottom shell which is responsible for the movements of the shells. Unless you cut through these muscles, you can’t open the shells. Staring from the hinge point, slide the blade into the shell slowly till you feel it. The blade should be held flat closer to the top shell as much as possible. This will minimize unnecessary damages to the oyster.
Once the shells are separated you can get rid of the top shell. Smell the liquor inside the bottom shell and throw it out if it does not smell right. The liquor should be almost clean and smell fresh. Check if any broken shell parts have gotten into your oyster. If there are any, removed them carefully with the knife blade.