When it comes to festive entertaining, there’s nothing like oysters on the half shell – especially when paired with sparkling wine. Shucking them is easier than you might imagine. Just follow the steps below, then try some of our delicious recipes.
Using a stiff brush, scrub the oysters well under running cold water. Rinse away any mud, sand or shell grit. Discard any open oysters that do not close to the touch.
Place an oyster on a work surface and identify the flat side. Fold a kitchen towel and use it to pick up the oyster so the flat side is facing up. The towel will protect your hand.
Locate the hinge at the pointed end of the oyster. Insert the tip of the oyster knife about 1/2 inch deep into the hinge. Twist and pry the knife to loosen the top shell and break the hinge.
If the tip of the knife is muddy, rinse and wipe it clean. Slide the knife along the inside surface of the top shell to detach the adductor muscle that connects the oyster.
Now that you have cut the adductor muscle, the top shell should be free. Lift it away and discard. Be careful not to spill any of the juice, or oyster liquor, because this briny water adds to the oyster-eating experience.
Run the knife along the inside surface of the bottom shell to loosen the oyster. If serving on the half shell, leave the oyster in the shell with its juice.