When I was younger, I wouldn’t go near them. I honestly couldn’t figure out why my grandfather insisted on having oyster dressing (stuffing) at Thanksgiving when there was actually good dressing, with no yucky oysters, also being served. Why do that to a perfectly delicious dish? My husband still thinks tasting an oyster is kin to outright eating phlegm. GROSS.
Or at least that’s how I used to think. I have since grown up (and it would be nice if my hubby did, too, at least in terms of his thinking about these yummy critters! Just KIDDING, Matty…).
Now, to me, a nice crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc + a plate of raw oysters on the half shell with a little shallot-vinegar mignonette and fresh horseradish = exactly what the doctor ordered (or should have). But they can also be fried, put in stew, made into Oysters Rockefeller, and much much more…
The title for this post is derived from the fact that, although I did go to culinary school, the idea of shucking oysters really hasn’t appealed to me. Yes, I know how to do it, but do I want to? It always seemed like more work than necessary, but I was entirely wrong. After this past weekend with an open-minded friend, my outlook has changed. I think it’s high time everyone gives it a try.
Just trust me, people. They are so easy to prepare, and by ingesting them, you’re providing your body with zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, vitamins A & B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and if you have them raw, your body will reap the most benefits. You also are partaking in quite a historical food, going back over 2,000 years, when the Romans cultivated and enjoyed them as we do today, not to mention the fact that cultures all over the globe cultivate and eat oysters. If you eat an oyster, you’re in good company.
THANKS to an incredibly ambitious girlfriend and the ability to easily purchase the said oysters, here’s how it all went down this past weekend…
Our day at the beach was over, and our friend, Heather, joined my husband, daughter and I on a trek to pick up some sort of appetizer to bring back to another friend’s house. I was thinking cheese and crackers…but she had a different idea.
You see, Heather and I had been relaxing on the beach earlier, talking about how much we both love raw oysters. But I never would have expected the idea she was about to come up with:
Her eyes lit up, and she exclaimed, “Oooooh…that sounds perfect! Why don’t we just pick some up on the way home? I mean…why not?”
I replied, “Because we don’t have anything to shuck with. Because they are NOT easy to open. Because who the heck knows exactly where to go to get oysters ready to eat at the drop of a hat? Because it’s silly! What are you thinking???”
Her joyous face lit up. “I don’t see why we can’t at least try! How hard can it be to prepare them?”
That eagerness and open-mindedness was 100% contagious. And according to Nicole, who was hosting us later that day with her husband and two beautiful children, she was all for it. Nicole and her husband, Jon, might ‘actually have the perfect condiments already back at the house’.
So, I responded, “You’re absolutely right, Heather. I mean, why not? Right? Okay…so where do we get them?”
Off we went to Whole Foods, just crossing our fingers that they might not only have oysters but that they won’t be too expensive or difficult for such oyster-shucking-novices.
And guess what? Luck was on our side. They had plenty of oysters, more specifically “Fanny Bay Oysters“, from Canada and a very nice Whole Foods employee behind the seafood counter who showed us, step-by-step, how to properly shuck the little guys. Another employee literally ran to get us a new oyster-shucking-knife to purchase. I almost think these two men were as excited as we were! Well, maybe not AS excited. We were giddy.
Our Fanny Bays were only $1.25 each, and I’m guessing they were about 3-4 inches in size. I mistakenly assumed that, because we were at Whole Foods, they might be a tad too pricey, but for that price, we could easily get enough for the group back at the house. 15 Fanny Bay oysters were purchased, along with our new ‘shucker’, and we were on our way!
Our hosts were also, as always, prepared for our experiment. Nicole, our hostess with the mostess, had prepared a mignonette, some cocktail sauce and some sliced lemons. All we had to do was shuck away. I tried the first one, being very careful to use a kitchen cloth between my hand and the oyster shell…holding down firmly, as I found the lip of the oyster. The whole process takes practice, and that first one, well…While I think I did a decent shucking job, I think there were still very small pieces of the shell that fell into the liquid.
And THAT is a No No.
HEY! It had been a few years since my culinary school days, okay?????
Heather took over from there, and she, having never shucked before, was amazing!!!
Nicole and I helped put them on a platter of ice, and let me just tell you…They were delicious! Even my husband enjoyed them!
Mind you, it’s imperative to be aware of and knowledgeable about safety when it comes to preparing and eating oysters. It would be no fun to get sick! But be smart, and you’ll be fine.
And because they are just so easy to prepare and enjoy, I say OYSTERS FOR EVERYONE!