Oysters are shellfish favorites in New England. When paired with cocktail sauce, lemon, and horseradish, they’re definitely a tasty treat, when in season. At raw bars, oysters on the half-shell are one of the most common orders. You can eat raw clams, like cherrystones, but oysters seem to be the most common crowd pleaser. Let’s take a deeper look at the different species, and how to shuck them.
There are many species of oysters, but the most common are the Pacific, Atlantic, and European flats. Pacific oysters are the smallest, sweetest, and have a distinctly pointed and fluted shell. Atlantic oysters, like Bluepoints, Wellfleets, and more, make up 80% of the oysters harvested in the U.S. European flats have a smooth, flat shell and a sharp mineral taste. They are the thickest and meatiest texture of oyster with quite a bit to them.
Horseradish and cocktail sauce are usually paired with oysters, as with many seafood and shellfish delicacies. Some people enjoy Worcestershire sauce with their oysters. A very common sauce chosen for raw oysters is a mignonette sauce, which is made from red wine vinegar, minced shallots, lemon juice, and some spices.
How to Shuck an Oyster
Shucking oysters may not be as difficult as it looks. When you have your preferred oyster species, be sure you have a shucking knife, a glove, and a towel. (And an appetite!) Put a towel underneath, and take an oyster in the palm of your gloved hand. Jimmy the edge of the shucking knife under the base of the knuckle of the oyster. Twist the knife with pressure until the shell lifts up. Remove all shell debris from the oyster before placing on a serving tray or before eating.
When you shuck your oysters, pair with your favorite sauce and enjoy. Oysters on the half shell are great for parties, appetizers, and summer treats. Wines that pair well with raw oysters are dry wines and sweet wines. Treat your guests to a special, nautical snack when they come over for your next cookout or get together. They’re easy to prepare, and they’re not as hard to shuck as you may think!
For over 65 years, the Zaffiro family of Channel Fish Processing (CFP) has provided the freshest, highest quality North Atlantic fish to wholesalers everywhere. Over the years, Channel has grown and developed from a processor of Cod and Haddock into a family run-company that conducts business globally and provides a wide variety of fresh and frozen seafood products. For questions or comments, reach out to us today at 617-464-3377.