Every time we serve oysters, a huge debate over whether they are better “fresh” (raw) or cooked ensues. I prefer them cooked; Ev thinks that’s a travesty – according to him oysters shouldn’t be cooked. Ever. But hey, to each their own. It’s the texture that gets me. The flavours are great but the feeling of an uncooked oyster doesn’t really float my boat.
So, for those of you who do like uncooked oysters, or are wanting to try them… this is for you.
First, you need to make sure your oysters are good. They should still be alive when you buy them. If their shells are closed then they are alive. If they have cracked open then they have died. Don’t buy or eat them, they might have gone bad.
Next, shuck your oysters. It’s much easier to describe this in a video, and this clip from YouTube is pretty concise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5DXV1pdGtU Just make sure you have a tool similar to his, or a steak knife might also work. I like his idea of covering it with a cloth to protect your hand from possible slips.
Essentially, you just lay the oyster with the flattest side up and slide your shucking knife into the little divet at the hinged (narrowest) end. Give the blade a quick twist while maintaining the inward pressure and the hinge should pop open. Make sure you cut through the muscle that joins the oyster to the shell, otherwise people will have a hard time eating them later on.
As an entree (appetiser) I would allow for two oysters per person.
Lay out a bed of lettuce, such as Cos or Oak Leaf and then place the oysters in the curls of the leaves, which will help them to stay upright.
Place a couple of drops of GF soy sauce (like Tamari) and freshly squeezed lemon juice in each oyster. This really boosts the flavour… as I said, I like the flavour, just not the texture. I can’t get my head around it.
These are best prepared right before serving. I don’t like to leave them sitting around for too long, an hour at the absolute maximum, and even then they should be in the fridge. No one wants to give their guests food poisoning…
On that note, I do hope you enjoy them. Oysters are so cheap here in the Pacific Northwest. About 50 cents each. It’s safe to say that Ev is making the most of it while we’re here, before we move back home.