How To Prepare, Cook, And Serve Oysters
Even though it wasn’t always the case, oysters are considered a luxurious delicacy these days. Actually, they may as well be the most expensive shellfish today. However, an interesting fact about oysters is that, even though they’re often referred to as shellfish, they actually belong to the family of mollusks, much like the clams and scallops. That said, while getting your hands on fresh oysters may cost you a bit more than typical, you can be 100% certain that this special meal you make will be a true joy for your palate. In that sense, preparing oysters for a special occasion is a great way to show off your cooking skills and elevate the menu accordingly.
A Bit More about Oysters
Don’t be fooled by the oysters’ dull color and rough shell; it’s the meat on the inside that you need to focus on. Once the oyster is opened, it reveals its tender flesh soaked in the juice that’s often creamy or grayish in color. What’s more, oyster flesh is rich in certain amino acids, which has made them quite a popular treat as an aphrodisiac.
There are several different kinds of oysters around the world, and they typically differ in taste and size. It might come as a surprise but it’s the smaller oysters that are considered a special delicacy and carry a heftier price. These are known as the “natives” and originate around the Whitstable and Colchester areas of the United Kingdom. It is recommended for these smaller “native” oysters to be eaten raw while the bigger ones, often referred to as the “Pacific” oysters are best consumed cooked. That said, there are also plenty of different ways to cook oysters, from steaming, grilling, and roasting to poaching and pan-frying; they can even be smoked.
It’s during the summer months when oysters typically tend to spawn, which is precisely why the ideal time to farm and consume them is between the months of September and April.
How to Store the Oysters
It’s not necessary to prepare oysters the moment you get them even though this practice is recommended; they can be easily refrigerated for up to 2 days. This, however, is only applicable if you plan to cook the oysters afterward. In case you want to eat the oysters raw, they should be consumed immediately post being opened. Of course, the best course of action always involves purchasing fresh oysters from a reputable source whom you can always expect top quality goods from. If you want to proceed with storing them, place the oysters on a large plate and cover them with a damp tea towel before putting them in a refrigerator. Keep in mind that they should never be soaked in water.
How to Clean the Oysters
If you’re planning to eat the oysters in a traditional manner i.e. raw, you have to make sure that the oysters are perfectly clean. Therefore, make it a point to scrub their shells thoroughly under the cold running water until you’re 100% sure there’s no dirt/debris left. Get rid of those oysters that have a damaged shell or appear to be open. In general, the serving includes 6-12 oysters per person.
How to Open the Oysters
Take your oyster and wrap it up in a cloth/tea towel. Position it so that the flatter surface is at the top and the hinge is directed towards you. Grip it tightly and insert a shackling knife into a small hole in the hinge. You can also use any other shorter knife as long as the blade is blunt but strong. Never use your typical sharp kitchen knife. That said, twist your knife after inserting it into a hole until the shells open up. Then proceed to use that knife to cut the muscles along the upper shell so you can comfortably separate the two.
Once that bit is done, proceed to remove the top shell without spilling the liquid. It’s a good idea to do the opening over a bowl. All that’s left now is to remove the black beard from the main body and serve your oysters.
How to Serve the Oysters
For all those wondering how to prepare raw oysters the entire process is rather simple once the oysters are cleaned and opened. The most traditional way to serve them is to keep them in their bottom shell while placed in crushed ice. More often than not, they’re served with cayenne pepper and a lemon wedge used to squeeze fresh juice straight onto the oyster flesh. Buttered brown bread also makes a good pair with this delicious bite.
Aside from pepper, it’s possible to find oysters served with Tabasco sauce and salt as well. In some places, the mix of lemon juice and sherry vinegar is used as a Mignonette sauce to complement the oyster flesh together with peppercorns and shallots. The ideal beverage to consume together with oysters is white wine.
How to Cook the Oysters
If you want to know how to prepare oysters when you have to cook them, it’s still ideal to work with live oysters. Essentially, the easiest way to open them up to get to the flesh, in this case, is to steam them or microwave them for about a minute. Even though you plan to cook your oyster flesh, make sure to store the juice somewhere as you can use it in your recipe to add more flavor. The cooking of oysters in particular usually doesn’t take longer than a couple of minutes; it’s the sauces and other dishes that they’re typically served with that usually take a bit longer to prepare.
Angels on Horseback recipe is one of the most popular dishes that you can make with cooked oysters. What’s more, it’s simple, easy, and delicious. All you need are four main ingredients:
Take the oyster flesh from the shells and boil them in their own juice for a couple of minutes; until they start to curl. Then wrap the oyster in bacon and grill until the bacon is done. Toast the bread of your choice and align the bacon-wrapped oysters on it. Embellish with parsley and voila! Your Angels on Horseback recipe is done.
If you want to try something else, you can always go with fried oysters. This is what you’ll need:
- Beaten egg
- Lemon juice
Take the oyster flesh from the shells and drizzle it with lemon juice. Proceed to dip them in the beaten egg and coat in cornmeal. Fry in hot oil until crispy and serve with lemon wedges. See? Easy!
Interested in checking just how delicious oysters can be before trying to prepare them yourself? Then feel free to pay us a visit at Stiltsville Fish Bar, located at the very heart of Miami’s Sunset Harbor. You can choose between our relaxing and idyllic hammock outdoor area or indoor dining with an equally breathtaking view and a pleasant atmosphere. In case you want to learn more about our offers at Stiltsville Fish Bar, don’t hesitate to check out our menu online. We invite you to challenge and surprise your taste buds with the refreshing and innovative blend of flavors and aromas that won’t leave you indifferent.