February 7, 2014

Shucking Raw Oysters

 Beaver loves raw oysters.  He thinks it's a real treat to go to an oyster bar and order a dozen for supper.  They can be pricey though, partly because it's a lot of work to shuck an oyster.  If they're super delicious it's worth the money.  Beave's eaten oysters at several reputable establishments in town but he says that by far the best he's ever had were at D'Jon's in Melbourne Beach, Christmas Eve 2013.

Oysters are not pretty.
For his latest project Beaver decided he wanted to learn to buy and shuck oysters himself.  You can get oyster knives at general goods stores and fish markets.  The one we saw at Walmart was rusted in its package; not very appealing.  He ended up ordering two from Bass Pro Shops for less than five dollars.  We picked them up at the store, saving postage and allowing us a fun afternoon browsing stuff like deer urine, M16 barbecue grill lighters and state of the art tackle boxes.

We got the oysters from Indialantic Seafood Company. They cost around 50 cents a piece -- not bad!  They were all gnarly and barnacled, not real inviting looking, but it's what inside that counts.  Around supper time we fired up the propane deck heater (it was less than 70 degrees), put Margaritaville radio on the outdoor speakers and set up the shucking event.

The shucking begins.
Step one was to figure out which was the hinge end.  You're supposed to find the hinge and insert the knife on either side of the hinge, creating a break in the seal, and then work the knife around until you separate the top, flatter shell from the bottom, more cupped shell.  We decided the pointy end was the hinge.  The first oyster Beaver picked up wouldn't cooperate so he put that back and tried another.  And it worked!

Got it!
After that it was relatively easy.  The hard part is keeping the oyster level so you don't spill the live oyster and its salty water inside.  We had a tray lined with ice cubes ready so Beave could put the half shell in a safe place while getting them all shucked.

This one looks like a classic oyster.  Many of the others were weirdly shaped and covered with barnacles.
Placing the half shells on a bed of ice helps keep them steady until eating time.
Almost done!
Now it's eating time.
When the oysters are all shucked it's time to eat them.  Beaver sprinkles lemon juice all over them first, then dabs a little cocktail sauce or Tabasco sauce on each one.  Slurping raw oysters is easy to learn.  Basically you find a lip-friendly span on the rounded edge of the shell and tilt the shell up as you slurp the contents - oyster and juice both - into your mouth.  Swallow it whole.

Ta da!  The home shucking experience was a success.  Beaver tested and approved.  His next project is to find the best raw oysters in town.  If anyone knows of a particularly outstanding supplier in our area, please let us know!

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