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How to Shuck away with SeafoodFriday

How to shuck an Oyster?

Opening an oyster is definitely not the easiest thing to do. We are aware of that as we have had quite some injuries in the SeafoodFriday kitchen the last couple of months while preparing oyster and other dishes for our recipe collection… For this reason we came up with the idea to help you out with a step by step guide on how to shuck your oyster! 

While shucking oysters is up there as one of the more intimidating tasks facing the first-timer in the kitchen, it’s also an essential social skill comparable with being able to uncork a bottle of Champagne or make an omelette. The good news is there are only five steps between you and your next oyster! With a bit of practice and a firm hand, you can shuck your own oysters and enjoy them exactly as they should be: as fresh as possible!

Step 1 – Have the right gear!
To open or shuck an oyster, all you need is an oyster knife and something (usually a towel or glove) to protect your hand. A paring knife, screwdriver or hammer simply won’t do. Don’t be tempted. It will end in stab wounds and tears sooner or later. Oyster knife blades are specifically designed to deal with the toughness of the shells, and the rounded handles give you more leverage when popping them open.

Step 2 – The Set up
Make sure your oysters are cold before you start. Regardless of species, bury the oysters under ice for half an hour before you open them. Take an oyster and with the cup of the shell facing down, wrap it in a clean cloth or oyster glove with the pointed hinge of the oyster facing out. Place the cloth or oyster glove on a board, on a stable surface, and hold down firmly. Insert the blade of the knife a small way into the hinge where the top and bottom shells meet.

Step 1 – Have the right gear!

Step 2 – The Set up

Step 3 – Just wiggle it!
Once your knife has found the sweet spot, it shouldn’t take that much force to open it. You’re not dealing with a crab or lobster after all! You’re going to want to wiggle the knife into the hinge until the knife is secure. You should still be able to lift the blade without the oyster moving. Once the knife is in position, twist it like you’re turning a key. And then pop! The shells break apart. After the pop, slowly pry open the oyster. Don’t go too quickly or you might break your knife! Just run the knife around the side of the oyster, and it will open.

Step 4 – The finish

Having removed the top lid, use the blade of the oyster knife to snip the adductor muscle on the bottom shell to release the oyster. If you want, you can turn the oyster over to have its “belly” facing up.

Try to keep as much of the oyster’s natural liquid in the shell as possible – it’s delicious and is one of the things that makes a freshly shucked oyster so good. The oysters are now ready to serve – place them on a bed of ice or salt to stop them tipping over and it’s time to slurp!

Step 3 – Just wiggle it!
Step 4 – The finish

Step 5 – Repeat! Practice makes perfect.

The only way to get your shucking ability right is to repeat! Remember, practice makes perfect. Every oyster is unique, which makes shucking a bit of an art form. After a few hundred, you’ll get a much better sense of what works best for you!

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