Updated 2009-07-15 14:27:30 ID=438:1

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, To enjoy fresh oysters, you need to shuck the shell. 2009-07-13 14:14:11:175
©2009 The Romantic Table

To enjoy fresh oysters, you need to shuck the shell.

How to shuck an oyster


Shucking oysters (opening an oyster shell) is not a difficult task with the right tools and a little practice.

Fresh oysters are a delicacy but they come with one problem --you need to get into the shell to enjoy them. And believe me, those shells are held shut tightly. But, shucking an oyster (opening the oyster shell) is not a difficult task with the right tools and a little practice.

Here are some simple instructions on how to do the task. It does help to have an oyster knife with a slight curve at the end, and sharpened on both edges. Where we are, oyster knifes are not commonly available, so I had my engineer husband make one for me using a better quality stainless steel paring knife. He said anyone who took metal working in junior high or boy scouts could do it. I took home economics... Oh well, at least I knew how to use the knife once he made it for me!


©2009 The Romantic Table, You will need a short knife - preferably an oyster knife, or a knife with a slight curve in it, and a glove or towel to hold the oyster while you shuck it. 2009-07-15 23:25:23:174
©2009 The Romantic Table

You will need a short knife - preferably an oyster knife, or a knife with a slight curve in it, and a glove or towel to hold the oyster while you shuck it.

You can also make you own oyster knife like this one using a better quality paring knife and forging a curve into the end. This is easy to do if you have a gas stove to heat the knife edge, but a bit beyond this article. Check your favorite search engine for information.
©2009 The Romantic Table 2009-07-15 23:23:49:177
©2009 The Romantic Table

First step is to insert the knife into the oyster at the hinge end. Hold the oyster firmly in your hand, or if you prefer on a cutting board with a towel, and carefully work the edge of the knife into the hinge (at the pointed end). When inserted, give the knife a twist and pop the hinge open.

Take your time and work carefully --this is the hardest step.
©2009 The Romantic Table, Wiggle and twist the knife into the oyster shell 2009-07-15 23:24:03:178
©2009 The Romantic Table

Now the hinge is open, insert the knife into the oyster shell, directing the curved point along the top shell to the center, working the knife side to side to sever the strong muscle which holds the oyster shell shut.

The trick is to keep the knife up against and sliding along the top shell half so you do not slash and cut up the oyster in the bottom half.
©2009 The Romantic Table, Continue to work and cut along the edge of the oyster 2009-07-15 23:24:15:179
©2009 The Romantic Table

Continue to work and cut along the edge of the oyster to complete server the large abductor muscles.
©2009 The Romantic Table, If you need to, continue to cut along the opposite edge 2009-07-15 23:24:26:180
©2009 The Romantic Table

If you need to, continue to cut along the opposite edge. Usually cutting along one side is sufficient to loosen the shell unless the oyster is particularly large.
©2009 The Romantic Table, Remove the top oyster shell half 2009-07-15 23:24:37:181
©2009 The Romantic Table

Remove the top shell half. Be careful not to spill the oyster juices which are held in the bottom curved part of the shell. When the shell is open, loosen the oyster by cutting the muscle underneath the oyster as well.

Inspect along the inside edges for any grit or broken shell, and remove by blotting carefully with a towel.

And that is all there is to it. Enjoy!







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A tip from Sue!

No cheese on seafood please!

When serving an Italian seafood dish, unless the recipe specifically calls for cheese, grated Parmesan cheese on top is not a good idea!

The pungent taste of Parmesan is usually too strong for the delicate fish flavors.