28 April 2015

Oyster shucking for the uninitiated

If you think about all the food you eat that is alive and raw when you actually eat it, maybe the live fish sushi in exotic China comes to mind. In fact, oysters are very much alive when you eat them raw (or cooked alive... one should never eat dead oysters).

I was once a beginner shucker. And after a bit of practice and a couple of minor injuries, I now consider myself an intermediate shucker, which means I can probably still injure myself if I get too cocky.
Oysters on the halfshell
Oysters on the halfshell. Can you hear them squealing? I do, and I don't care. 
So here's my pictorial step-by-step on how to violate an oyster*!
A genuine Prince Edward Island oyster in shell 
You need towels, a shucking knife or other sturdy knife with a stiff blade.

Is it hard to shuck an oyster? Yes. Can one hurt one's self while shucking an oyster? Yes.
Ain't she sweet? Oyster in shell waiting to be violated. 
Here goes the surgical procedure:
  1. Lay the oyster down on a towel with the bottom facing up and hinge pointing towards your dominant hand (i.e. the hand with which you would use to stab someone using a weapon). The bottom side is usually the side that curves upwards (concave side up).

    Ain't she sweet? Oyster in shell waiting to be violated. 
  2. Wrap and hold the front end of the oyster in the towel. Wiggle and jam the shucker/knife into the back hinge of the oyster until you feel it sitting firmly in the hinge.
    Jamming the shucker/knife into the back hinge of the oyster.
  3. Turn the knife/shucker 90 degrees (90°) until the hinge is busted.
    Turn the shucking knife 90° degrees to unhinge the shell and listen to the oyster scream in pain. 
  4. Run the knife along the inside top lid of the oyster to loosen the meat and then remove the top shell/lid. 
  5. Rinse the oyster meat under cold running water to wash away any sand that might be floating around. The oyster is still attached to the bottom shell.
  6. Run the knife underneath the oyster meat along the bottom shell to loosen the rest of the meat. Gently rinse again. 
  7. Scoop the screaming oyster into your mout. Savour it as it screams silently down towards your digestive tract!  
Screaming, disrobed oyster.
And that is the end of my lesson in shucking an oyster. The end. Of the oyster. 

*Thank you, anatomicunderground, for your hand modelling and shucking!