How to Shuck an Oyster

When my parents were in town last month, we had to stop by our favorite grocery spot, Chelsea Market. We headed over to The Lobster Place, because I was making tequila marinated shrimp and fish tacos. My dad, however, stopped in his tracks when we walked past the vast display of oysters. At first, I was reluctant, because I had never opened an oyster before, and I thought it would be too difficult (not to mention dangerous, what with taking a knife to a closed shell and all), but he persisted, and eventually I gave in and he bought two dozen oysters and an oyster knife. I was honestly terrified that someone was going to lose a thumb in my apartment, but I allowed Kramer and my dad to get to cracking open some oysters. Believe it or not, it wasn’t so hard after all! Kramer shucked all of the oysters quickly and cleanly, and we were enjoying fresh oysters in my kitchen in no time at all. Sometimes you just have to face your culinary fears, I suppose. Thanks, Dad, for convincing us (and for buying)!

We bought two different types of oysters that we got at Chelsea Market. The first were Blue Point oysters, which are from Long Island and have a nice, prevalent brininess. They generally have lots of liquid in them, too, which makes for a delicious oyster, in my opinion, because they taste just like fresh sea water. The ones pictured here are the Hama Hama oysters, which are from Washington State. They are a firm, meaty oyster, with a more mild brininess. I liked the Blue Points the best, but the Hama Hamas were really pretty, and also bigger, so you get a little more bang for your buck. There are many different varieties of oysters, though, so get a couple of different kinds and have fun with them! The best part about having oysters at home is that they are a great way to gather everyone around the table, try out different toppings, sip on some cocktails, and enjoy one another’s company. We had horseradish and cocktail sauce, of course, along with lemon wedges, but my favorite topping of all has to be a tiny dropper sized amount of Henrick’s gin. The gin compliments the briny oysters unlike anything you’ve ever tried, I promise you! My dad came up with the genius idea of using a straw to pull just the right amount of gin out from the bottle and onto the oysters. Summer is officially here, and I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than by gathering up your courage and shucking some oysters!

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