There’s something very satisfying about shucking an oyster. And if it’s an oyster you’ve just plucked off your beach or picked up fresh from a nearby farm, then all the better. Melanie picked up these oysters from Minterbrook Oyster Company, located down on the Key Peninsula. Here’s how to make your oyster shucking experience nearly as pleasing as eating them.
You’ll need a quality shucker, like you see above – one with a solid, non-slip handle and a blade with a good point. If you’re out here in Seattle, you can buy good shuckers at Taylor Shellfish’s store.
Position the oyster so the curved side is down and the flatter side is up. You’ll use the shucker to lever open the oyster, starting at the ‘hinge’ where the oyster seems to get pointy.
Put the oyster on a non-slippery surface. (Once you get to a more advanced level, you may like to shuck them holding them in your hand, but when you first start out, this is a recipe for gouging the heck out of yourself.) With the oyster on its surface, it may also be useful to drape a tea towel over the oyster to help hold it in place.
Rock the tip of the shucker back and forth, using a combination of force and cunning to start to gain entry into the oyster.
Once the oyster gives a bit, and you’re able to get the shucker in there, turn the handle a quarter turn, to start to leverage open the shell. Move the shucker around the oyster, giving a quarter turn along the way. Before you take the top shell off entirely, wipe your shucker on a tea towel and then slide it up and along the inside of the top shell, to cut the connection. Then slide the knife along the inside of the bottom shell, to completely free the oyster.
You can eat it at once, or arrange all of your opened oysters on a tray of ice and serve to friends.