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Oysters are a world renowned delicacy known for their distinctive taste, chewy texture, and salty yet delicious nature.
Not only this, oysters are jam packed with lots of healthy nutrients and vitamins and are low in calories. What’s not to love?
If you are on board with oysters, then you will need to know how to prepare and eat them yourself. That is where we come in handy.
We are here to tell you exactly how to prepare oysters, whether it is for frying, grilling, or serving on the half shell.
With our handy guide, the world’s your oyster. So, how do you prepare oysters in the shell?
How to prepare oysters in the shell
Serving oysters in the shell is one of the most common ways to enjoy this delicacy. To do this, you will need to know exactly how to prepare them.
No matter how you are serving the oysters, the most important thing that you need to remember is that you have to discard any oysters that are not tightly closed together.
These oysters may be already dead, and could have been for a while, and so it is best to avoid them.
This is why you need to serve up oysters as soon as you open them! So, discard any that are not closed, or ones that have been opened previously.
Then, you need to clean up the oysters, rinsing them under cold water and scrubbing away any debris. Next, you will need to open your oysters ready for serving.
To do this, we recommend that you purchase or use an oyster shucking knife, such as:
or a knife with a short, strong blade.
Then, you are going to need to grab a towel, and fold it up. Using the folded towel, hold the oyster in your hand, but keep the hinge of the oyster away from the palm.
Next, take the blade of your oyster knife, and insert the tip into the hinge of the oyster.
Then, instead of pulling upwards, as this can lead you to cut yourself, instead move the blade side to side until the hinge of the oyster breaks open.
If you are worried about cutting your hands, as some oysters can be tricky, try wearing cut resistant gloves:
Finally, pull the oyster from its shell, and wash in some salted water. Once you have washed the oyster, return it to the shell, and serve up raw.
How to prepare oysters on the half shell
If you want to serve up oysters on the half shell, you may need to prepare them a little differently. Oysters on the half shell are best served chilled, on a bed of ice and so you should store your oysters in the refrigerator.
The best way to do this is to spread them out in a single layer with the cupped part of the shell down onto a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with two layers of damp kitchen towels to ensure they are moist and cool at all times.
Do not store them directly on ice as oysters are actually salt water creatures, not fresh water creatures, so this will kill them. They can only be placed on ice for serving, after they have been shucked.
Don’t worry if there is not enough room for a baking sheet filled with oysters in your fridge, you can instead store them in a bowl with some damp kitchen towel over the top.
When you are ready to prepare the oysters, the best place to start is to clean them.
Give the oysters a good scrub first if you are serving in the shell as this will get rid of any excess sand, dirt, mud or other particles from the sea that you do not want your guests seeing!
Clean the oysters with cold water and place them in a colander in the sink. With a scrubbing brush you do not mind throwing away after, or a specific clam cleaning brush such as:
scrub away at the shell, and make sure you get at the hinge too, as dirt can become lodged in there. Rinse with cold water under the tap, and return to the refrigerator (on clean paper towels) until ready.
Then, you will need to prepare the crushed ice, you can break up normal ice with a blender or with a mallet to create a mound of crushed ice ready to serve your oysters on.
Then, get ready to shuck. Using the same method as above, and a shucking knife, shuck the oyster, clean it and do not discard the shell, as you can rinse this and serve the oyster on one half.
How to prepare oysters for frying
If you want to prepare salty, crispy and delicious fried oysters, then you will need to shuck them, as normal with a shucking knife. In addition, you would have to clean them as the above section explains.
However, if you have bought pre-packed oysters, then you will need to drain them of their liquor in a colander, and rinse under cold water.
This is because you would need them dry before you start soaking them and preparing them for the breading in order to fry them.
How to prepare oysters for grilling
In order to prepare oysters for grilling, it is essential that you clean them thoroughly first. The good news is that if you are not a confident shucker, then you do not have to shuck them.
Instead, just place them on a very very hot, preheated grill and cook for a minute or two, and the oysters should pop open!
How to prepare oysters rockefeller
Oysters cooked in a rockefeller style is one of the most popular ways to enjoy this delicacy.
Oysters rockefeller consists of oysters served on the half shell, topped with a green sauce consisting of spinach, cheese, salt, lemon juice and finished with breadcrumbs. Then, they are baked in the oven!
To prepare oysters for rockefeller, you will need to prepare them in the same way that you would for serving on the half shell. Therefore, you will have to clean the oysters, shuck them with a knife, and put back on the half shell.
Then, you need to prepare the rockefeller sauce with green onions, butter, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, and parmesan cheese, Place the shucked oysters in their shells on a baking sheet, and top each one with 1 tablespoon of the mixture, baking until the breadcrumbs brown, or for about 8 minutes.