Get Shucked: How to Shuck Oysters with Stock Culinary Goods

October 24, 2014

Get Shucked: How to Shuck Oysters with Stock Culinary Goods

Get Shucked: How to Shuck Oysters with Stock Culinary Goods

Get Shucked: How to Shuck Oysters with Stock Culinary Goods

I am a new, and still a little apprehensive, oyster eater.

Mostly I think I was put off by the texture (or the thought of the texture) and the 'all or nothing' fashion of slugging down the oyster in one fail swoop. That complete commitment to slurping down something I was, as yet, undecided if I was going to like meant my first oyster experience took some time to work up to.

My first oyster was actually a, thankfully, gentle introduction, in the more approachable form of a lightly fried tempura morsel with a light, sweet, Asian style mignonette. Throughly enjoying the light, fresh flavour of the meat itself it wasn't long before I started flinging back the raw variety. 

I'm still not a huge fan of giant oysters, though it was recently point out to me that you can bite an oyster on the way down- I'm not sure why I was sticking so vermently to the 'rule' of down-in-one when this simple and obvious step made oysters so much more accessible and far less scary to me!

Since moving to the ocean state, it's been an unusual occurrence to see a menu without oysters on it, even our favourite local The Ivy does fresh shucked oysters! But it wasn't until I popped home for a quick visit that I actually got my hands on some to try my hand at shucking... it was, suffice to say, an unmitigated disaster.

Hiding what remained of my mum's shattered kitchen knife in the bottom of the bin I resolved to figure out how to open and serve these beasts as beautifully and effortlessly as they did back in my adoptive home.

Fortunately for me Stock on Hope Street was quick to oblige with a shucking master class only a few days after I was back Stateside!

Led by owner Jan Faust Dane, whose shucking skills were perfectly compliments by some deliciously chilled white wine, we had a close up, hands on master class at how to get shucking:

  • Use the right tools: well duh, is what I would say if I hadn't destroyed a chef knife attempting to ram in into a shell a week earlier. Oyster knives have far thicker, stronger blades which allow you to add the (surprising) amount of power and pressure behind to sneak the blade into the shell and ease it open. The blade is short with a sturdy handle, limiting the opportunity for the end of knife to poke out too far on the other side of the shell into your hand or for your grip to fail and result in copious blood loss.
  • The towel method is a good place to start: Holding the oyster in your palm might look super fancy, but short of wearing a chain mail glove or risking your potential for even having an accurate palm reading again, the towel method will get you your oyster without a side of ER. Place a towel on the surface in front of you and your oyster on top with the hinge end facing toward your dominant hand- which ever hand you hold the knife in. Fold the towel over the top of the oyster so that the hinged end is still poking out but you can place the flat pal of your none knife holding hand on top of the towel covered shell. Imagine you've tucked the oyster in to bed and are giving him a reassuring tummy rub. Place the point of the knife into the join of the top and bottom shell slightly to the left of the beak (the pointy part of the hinged side of the shell). Work the tip of the knife into the join until you can push the knife into the shell, keep the blade flat, parallel to the table and as close to the top shell as you can. Work the blade in a sawing motion along the shell and out the other end of the oyster. Remove the top shell then slide the blade under the oyster meat, releasing it from the bottom shell, then flip it over  in the shell for presentation.
  • Serve with a mignonette or horseradish ketchup: The super fresh, light flavour of the oyster is compliments with a lovely sharp mignonette or a spicy, hot horseradish ketchup. Below is a video of Jan mixing up a delicious shallot, pink pepper and Olive Del Mondo champagne vinegar mignonette. You can also keep it super simple and light with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

A video posted by Holly Vine (@hollylikestocook) on

Aside from the brilliant demonstration, tons of fresh oysters and flowing wine, it was wonderful to be surrounded by the incredible selection of kitchen loveliness Stock has on offer. Rather than just a store, Stock represents a culinary community hub on Hope Street for home cooks and chefs alike.

Get Shucked: How to Shuck Oysters with Stock Culinary Goods

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