How to open and how to serve your oysters


To open oysters is not that difficult as you might think, but it will take some time to get the feeling. Don’t get frustrated when it feels like the first one will never open, cause it will. Before you know it you’ll knock them out all quickly. First of all there is some important equipment you need: a shucking knife and gloves or a thick cloth.

Before opening the oysters make sure to wash them under cold running water. Use a brush to get rid of the sand and dirt. Oysters that are open and don’t close after you washed them are usually dead. Don’t eat them. You can smell to check if it has a healthy fish smell, if it smells funky, don’t take any risks.

Opening an oyster, is called shucking. It is ideally done just before consuming. This is to preserve the freshness of the oyster. The cloth is to cover your hand while you hold the oyster firmly. Using only a shucking knife is important because they have a dull point and a thick blade. It won’t snap when you open the oyster shell. Also the knife isn’t that sharp so you won’t cut yourself that easy.
Open the oysters in the following 5 steps:

1. Cover your hand with a towel and hold the oyster in the towel with the most flat surface above.
2. Insert the knife into the ‘hinge’ of the shell.
3. Twist the knife up and down, left to right not too far, just to move it until you feel it opening.
4. Move the knife to left and right carefully to open it completely and take off the upper shell.
5. Cut the oyster loose form the shell and let it sit in it’s own fresh liquid.

How to serve oysters

Best is to serve the oysters on a plate with crushed ice so they will stay 100% fresh until consuming. Add some fresh cut slices of lemon to it and serve with a simple shallot vinegar dressing. This is made with finely chopped shallot and white/red vinegar. If you like them to be a little bit spicy, you can also add some tabasco. The French tradition is to eat oysters with just a squeeze of lemon and fresh bread with butter. Serve the oysters with small forks and a pairing wine.

We bought the oyster from Sétubal in the delicacy store in Lisbon, Sabores do Chiado. Here you”ll also find your pairing wine, let Rosy and Jean advise you.


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