Paired with a white wine or champagne, they’re the perfect hors d’oeuvre when whipping up a luxe feast for family and friends. The key, however, is knowing how to select your oysters and then, how to open them. Here are our top tips how to:
- Choose fresh oysters – ideally, your oysters should still be alive when you shuck them. If they’re already expired, they aren’t safe to eat. When picking oysters, look for closed shells, a fresh sea smell and a heavy feel. If it has a nice heavy weight, that means it’s still full of seawater and was probably harvested quite recently. If light, the seawater has dried up and is no longer fresh.
- After choosing fresh oysters, ensure you have an oyster knife. Oyster knives have hefty handles and short little blades. Then, wrap the hand you’ll use to hold the oyster in a dishtowel. Set the oyster on a flat surface and hold it down with your towel-wrapped hand.
- Looking at the oyster, you should see that it starts at a point before flaring outward into a shell shape. The hinge is located at the original point. Insert your oyster knife next to the hinge, wiggling it around until you feel it slip inside the shell. Give the knife a twist and you’ll feel the hinge pop.
- With the tip of your knife still inside the oyster, run it between the shells toward the top. Try angle the knife toward either the top of the shell (or bottom) so that you don’t cut into the oyster itself. Once you get to the top, twist the knife again to separate the top and bottom shells.
- Slide your knife under the oyster and cut through the muscles holding it to the shell. Try not to spill too much of the liquid inside the shell.
- Slurp and repeat!