Do you know how to eat oysters? This highly valued mollusc is considered a luxurious, sophisticated food with aphrodisiac properties. The truth is that opening oysters is not such a simple task. It requires skill, technique and practice to open them without breaking the shell and without shelling them.
We’ll tell you how to prepare oysters and how to serve them to enjoy all the flavour of the sea they contain. Although you can always visit one of our seafood restaurants in Barcelona, where you’ll find the best oysters in Barcelona, fresh and of the highest quality.
How to Open Oysters Without Breaking Them
There are several ways to open oysters, although the common denominator in doing so is that it’s more about skill than strength. The oyster has a hard and irregular shell and its exterior is slippery. Also, since they are usually consumed raw, they need to be opened without applying heat, which adds to the difficulty.
How to Use an Oyster Knife
This knife is specially designed for opening oysters, scallops, razor clams, and other raw shellfish. It features a short, pointed blade and a sturdy, non-slip handle.
It’s crucial to protect the hand holding the oyster with an absorbent cloth to prevent cuts. The oyster is held with the non-dominant hand and it is placed with the concave shell facing downward.
The oyster knife is inserted between the two shells at the narrower end of the oyster, where the two shells meet. Using the tip you have to locate the oyster’s muscle and gradually insert the knife blade horizontally and as close as possible to the upper shell.
You need to cut the muscle that connects both parts of the oyster, located on the right side of the mollusc. Once the knife has gone in, you have to create a lever to open the oyster. Separate the oyster from the shell with gentle movements to avoid damaging the nacre.
There are accessories that can help you open oysters, such as silicone oyster shuckers, which are used to grip the oyster securely to prevent it from slipping, or wooden blocks for holding the oyster for the same purpose.
Here we show you how we do it easily and quickly at our Oyster Bar in Barcelona:
The Microwave Trick
There’s a trick to easily open oysters, which involves placing the oysters in the microwave on the defrost setting for less than a minute, with the concave shell facing downward. While this trick may work, it’s not the most recommended method, as the oyster can undergo changes in texture when exposed to heat and then consumed raw.
How to Eat an Oyster
Eating oysters is much simpler than opening them. You let the oyster slide into your mouth and chew it gently to release all its flavor. The liquor that remains in the shell is delicious and should not be discarded.
It’s crucial to discard any oyster that has a soft texture and a milky color. Fresh oysters have a distinctive sea aroma, so if you notice any unusual odor, do not eat it.
Tips for Preparing and Serving Oysters
Now that you know how to eat oysters, there are many recipes with which you can enjoy them.
How to prepare oysters? The classic way to serve them is on a plate with crushed ice and in their shells. A few drops of lemon juice help emphasize the sea flavour of the oyster. Some prefer to add pepper, flaked salt, tarragon or apple cider vinegar, or even some spice. However, if the oyster is of high quality, it’s better not to add any condiments and enjoy them au naturel.
Other Ways to Prepare Oysters
Oysters Rockefeller is one of the most popular recipes featuring this mollusc. They are steamed and then baked in their shells with a breadcrumb crust, shallots, parsley, spinach, and bacon. This recipe is very popular in the United States.
If you want to add a French touch to your table, serve the oysters raw with lemon, black pepper and accompanied by high-quality buttered bread.
Oysters also pair well with spicy flavours. You can serve them raw with a Tabasco vinaigrette, lemon, sugar, and chopped scallions. Another lively combination is to add chili flakes, chives, and apple cider vinegar to the oysters.
Fried oysters are popular in many parts of the world. Try them Cajun-style: they are coated in cornmeal, fried, and served with tartar sauce.
If you decide to cook oysters, it’s essential not to overcook them, or they will become rubbery and tough. If you steam them, remove each oyster as soon as it has opened. If you fry or bake them, don’t leave them on the heat for more than two minutes.
Oysters pair perfectly with brut nature cava or champagne. But if you prefer something different, choose a dry white wine with good acidity, featuring saline and mineral notes that emphasize the sea flavour of the oysters.
Now that you’ve learned how to eat oysters, we remind you that at Chao Pescao we prepare them to your liking, so you don’t have to open them at home and can solely focus on enjoying their incredible sea flavour.