Shucking oysters is a delicate process and at first glance, may seem intimidating. But once you learn to break through their tough exterior, you’ll relish the sweet and savory mouthful inside.
To get the best tips and tricks, we turned to the pros at the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival in Comox Valley.
With over 22 years of experience at Fanny Bay Oysters, Ray Silvey and oyster shucking Guinness World Record holder, Patrick “Shucker Paddy” McMurray share their best techniques to help you shuck like a pro at your next cocktail party.
What You’ll Need:
– Oyster knife
– Damp tea towel or stainless steel glove
– Serving tray (with ice, lemon wedges and condiments)
1. Make sure the oysters are clean of any grit or debris that may still be attached from their time in the ocean and on the beach. A quick rinse in the sink will do.
2. A stainless steel glove and damp tea towel are interchangeable. A stainless steel glove is highly protective and will save you from any unwanted slips and cuts from the very sharp oyster knife. Alternatively, use a damp tea towel that has been folded into a small square, creating at least eight layers of protection to avoid slipping.
4. You will enter the oyster at the hinge (the back) where the top and bottom shell meet. Here there is a natural opening perfect for the tip of your knife.
5. Apply pressure with the knife in this sweet spot and turn the knife 1/4 turn like a key in a lock (do not jam it or pry it like wedging open a paint can). With this slight wiggle you will feel it crack open.
6. The top shell will still be attached by the adduction muscle. Scrape your knife along the top of the shell to detach.
7. Now that your oyster is open, take a moment to wipe out any debris that may have made its way into the shell. You’ll then have to cut the adductor muscle away from the shell, which is about 2/3 of the way up from the hinge on the right hand side.
Fun Party Tip: Shucker Paddy likes to serve up a shot of Canadian whisky as an oyster chaser. Have your guests slurp back their oyster and pour some whisky into the empty shell while they’re enjoying. The salt water and whisky compliment each other perfectly. Try serving oysters with Shelter Point Distillery Single Malt Whiskey, both from the beautiful Comox Valley.