If you enjoy having oysters as a treat, knowing how to open oyster is quintessential.
The process of opening an oyster is usually known as shucking. And to enjoy the fresh taste of oysters, shucking is ideally done just before consuming the oyster.
Freeing an oyster from its shell usually takes a little practice before you learn to open one easily. And in this article, we will be telling you about the kind of method of how to open oyster.
But first, you will need to familiarise yourself with the parts of an oyster if you want to handle its shucking properly.
Parts of an Oyster
The edible, muscular part of an oyster is enclosed in a shell. The flat, top part of this shell is known as the lid and the base on which the edible meat lies in the lower shell. The thick area at the junction of these two shells is called the hinge while the thinner edge of the oyster is its lips.
When we open an oyster, we usually get rid of the shell and extract the meaty portion. This can be done by shucking, boiling, grilling, or steaming the oyster while also cooking it simultaneously.
How to Open Oyster
The technique of opening an oyster is not limited to shucking it only. There are different processes you can follow to open one. If you want to know how to open oyster, you can follow any of the methods given below in our article.
Shucking Raw Oysters
The most common way of opening an oyster is by shucking it.
It is essentially the process of forcing the oyster shell open to extract the meaty part using a shucking knife.
This knife is especially, made for shucking and has a thick blade with a dull point.
This helps to ply the hinge of the oyster shell opens without snapping.
Things you will need:
- dish towel
- mesh shucking gloves
- shucking knife
- mesh cleaner or sponge
Let us now take a look at the steps for opening an oyster using this technique.
Step 1: Preparing the oysters for shucking
Your first task is to wash the oysters under running cold water. Use a scrubbing sponge or mesh cleaner to scrub off the dirt, debris, and excess saltwater that may be clinging to the shell of the oyster.
Step 2: Dunking the oysters in boiling water
Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the oysters in. Leave them in the pot for no more than 10 seconds.
You can use a net or a steaming tray to keep the oysters together to make dunking and removing them from the boiling water easier.
Step 3: Ice bath
Prepare an ice bath with 3 parts cold water and 1 part ice cubes beforehand. Immediately after picking up the oysters from the hot water, put them in the ice bath.
This will prevent the oysters from getting cooked. The simultaneous change in temperature will also open some of the oyster shells right away; making shucking easier. The ones that do not open will require further prying.
Step 4: Precautionary step before shucking
If you have oysters frequently, investing in a pair of mesh shucking gloves can be a great investment as they make shucking raw oysters extremely easy.
You can alternately use a thick dish towel to cover the oyster carefully before shucking. Leave the hinge of the oyster shell exposed and grab the rest of the oyster firmly by placing your hand on top of the towel.
Step 5: Shucking the oysters
With the hinge facing towards you, place the oyster lid up. Look for any small gap between the lips of the oyster shell and once you find it, work the tip of your shucking knife into the oyster shell at a 45-degree angle.
Make sure you keep the knife blade pressed against the inside of the lid to prevent cutting off the oyster meat. Push the blade into the oyster and keep moving it back and forth to sever the muscle holding the shells together (adductor). Once you feel the shell give in, gently put the two shells apart by using the shucking knife.
After the oyster is open, slide your shucking knife underneath the oyster meat and move it back and forth gently to sever the lower adductor muscle. Once this gives in and well, the meat of your oyster will be completely free from its shell and ready to be devoured.
Steaming and Boiling the Oysters
Steaming and boiling the oysters help to preserve their flavor and impart a mild flavor respectively.
The method is as follows:
Step 1: Steam the oysters
Place the oysters lid-down in a steamer and steam them on low-medium heat till their lids open.
Steam them afterward for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to cook them completely.
Step 2: Boil the oysters
Bring a pot filled ⅔ with water to boil and put the oysters in. Keep them there until their shells open and for an additional 3 to 5 minutes to cook them completely.
Step 3: Serve
Once the oysters are open, serve them as soon as they are cool enough to eat. You can add your desired sauce or garnish to enhance the flavors.
Grilling the Oysters
For those of you who enjoy your oyster meat cooked, grilling them can be a great option.
The steps for opening oysters by this method are:
Step 1: Create a low heat side on the grill
Oyster lids tend to open when the temperature rises. So grilling the oysters is an easy way to open them and enjoy them cooked. Heat your grill and place your oysters on it.
But as oysters can overcook very easily, they have to be grilled at a low temperature, avoiding the direct heat area.
Step 2: Grilling the oysters until their lids open
On the low-heat area of your grill, place the oysters with their lids facing down, their hinges facing you, and the lips facing away.
Grill them in small batches over even heat instead of piling all of them onto the grill. Grill them only until the oyster lids pop open.
Step 3: Removing the oysters from the heat and serve immediately
Remove the oysters from the grill as soon as their lids pop open, even partially, to prevent overcooking them. It is easier to open a cooked oyster; so you shouldn’t have much difficulty getting rid of its shells.
Serve the grilled oysters immediately to enjoy the best taste. You can add your preferred spice or sides to enhance the flavor.
Read Also: Why Do Fish Jump Out of the Water
Oysters can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. No matter which mode of eating you prefer, opening the shell of the oyster is pivotal.
If you can follow the aforementioned steps of opening an oyster, you should be able to enjoy your oyster meat in no time. To know more about interesting facts, you can read our article on why do fish jump out of the water.