‘Cause there ain’t no in between! You either hear folks say ‘Yum’ or ‘Etch!’; I’ve never heard a “Oh, they’re kinda OK…” from anyone, have you?
Alright, first to the basics!
If you’re gonna do oysters and you don’t live near where they come from, then get them from a place where they do, that you know if the best, freshest you can get, period! We don’t do oysters often, but when we do, we get really good ones and we do it from somebody who needs and wants the business. Take this opportunity to help out folks from the Gulf, you’ll make their day, get great food, and do good in the bargain. Here are some great options for y’all.
Zirlott’s is from coastal Alabama; family run, great food, great folks.
Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge is the same thing; local, fresh, great folks!
Now, a few points about delaing with ’em after you got ’em. Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption. There’s a simple test for this: oysters must be capable of closing the shell tightly.
Open oyster? Knock on the shell; a live one’ll close up and is therefore good to go.
If they’re open and stay that way, they’re dead, so chuck ‘em, don’t shuck ‘em!
A dead oysters, or oyster shells filled with sand may stay closed, but they ‘clack’ when ya rap ‘em – That’s a no go too, (And why they’re called ‘clackers’)
Shucking oysters requires skill, ‘cause live oysters outside of water close themselves in with a powerful muscle to seal in their juices and survive.
The generally used method for opening oysters is to use a special knife (called an oyster knife, a variant of a shucking knife), with a short and thick blade about 2 inches long.
Best advice if you’re new at it? Buy ‘em shucked! If not, get a cut-proof glove for your holding hand! If you’re lucky enough to not cut yourself with the knife, you likely will on the oyster shell itself, which can be razor sharp, so be sober and extra careful throughout the process!
Slip the blade in at the hinge in the rear of the shell. Twist the blade until you hear and feel a slight pop. Now slide the blade upward to cut the adductor muscle (which holds the shell closed). Bingo, you’re there.
So, how to eat ’em?
On the Half Shell
Straight away, on a bed of ice. Slice lemons, fine dice onion or scallion, have a bottle of hot sauce on hand, and maybe some really nice fresh cracked pepper. Slide, don’t chew – If you’ve ever done that, you won’t likely do it again…
Shuck and remove oysters from shell, rinse and trim thoroughly.
Build a dredge:
Mix well in a bag
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pop oysters into the dredge bag and shake a few times. Tap excess dredge off before placing in the fryer.
Heat your oil to 375 degrees F and keep it there; that means introducing a single oyster at a time and allowing a little pause for your fryer to recover the desired temp before you add more: Keep the batches to 4 or 5 tops. Doing so assures you of light taste and minimal sogginess.
Pair with fresh homemade fries, onion rings, or coleslaw. Have plenty fo fresh sliced lemon ready too.
8 large raw oysters.
1 Cup spinach, cooked and drained.
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped.
1/2 Tablespoon parsley, chopped.
1/2 stick Celery.
2 Tablespoons soft breadcrumbs.
1 tablespoons of butter.
1 lemon, sliced
Dash of salt
Dash of hot sauce.
Open the oysters, remove from their shells and drain. Reserve the shells.
Fill an baking dish, (Or individual ones), with rock salt.
Place reserved shells in each dish and put an oyster in each shell.
Saute your spinach in a little olive oil.
Rough chop the onion and parsley, (You can put ’em together, no problem).
Crush or juice celery and reserve 1/2 teaspoon juice.
Add celery juice, salt, hot sauce and breadcrumbs and saute over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of spinach mixture over each oyster.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 10 minutes, (Sauce should be bubbling nicely.)
Serve with plenty of lemon slices.