Fresh un-shucked oysters of your choice
Solid work surface
Shucking glove (made of metal)
Shuck em like the pros.
Shucking oysters is something every Chef has done at some stage. When I was initially taught we were always taught to go in from the back, or pointy end of the oyster, aka the hinge end. As this is my practiced way to do it, it is also my favourite. However every time I walk through the Sydney fish markets I see the pros and when I say pros that is exactly what these guys and gals are, they can shuck a few dozen oysters in the time it takes me to do a few oysters. These pros shuck from the front of the oyster or rounded end of the oyster, aka the non-hinge side. So having said that, in this demonstration I will walk you through the professional Îfrom the frontÌ technique and then you can have a look at my ‘from the back‘ technique and you can decide which works better for you. In either case please be careful and use the proper equipment. Proper equipment includes a solid non-slip work surface, a high quality oyster shucking knife and a shucking glove. In this demonstration we have used a towel in place of the shucking glove, however if it is your first time shucking we do recommend that you get a glove instead of the towel.
- Lay the tea folded towel on the surface.
- Place the oyster with the flatter side up and the round end towards your shucking hand.
- With your gloved hand, hold the oyster firmly down, (in this demonstration case we have held it down with another tea towel).
- Slip the knife in between the upper and lower shell.
- Wiggle the knife a little until you can get some movement with the knife.
- Holding the knife flat against the underside of the top shell, slide the knife across the front of the shell. In doing this you will cut the ligament that holds the top shell on, it will require a bit of muscle.
- Pry the top shell off and discard it.
- Run the knife under the oyster and cut through the ligament attaching it to the shell.
- The oyster is now free and ready to eat at its freshest. The liquid within is often referred to as the oysters liquor and should be enjoyed along with the oyster.
- Although this is the best and most delicious way to eat it, the reality is that you may have some shell fragments in your oyster and may want to rinse it. If so, quickly rinse it in salt water brine and return it to the shell.
- Most oysters are served upside down in the shell as it present a little neater and is also conveniently the result of the shucker flipping it as he or she cuts the ligament underneath, but this is largely a personal preference and you may prefer the more organic look of the oysters original position in the shell.
Photo Credit: Harrison Group