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3 Delicious Ways to Cook Oysters at Home

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Briny with the taste of the ocean, oysters are a delicious shellfish fit for any occasion. The most popular way to enjoy oysters ais re raw in the shell with a squeeze of lemon juice or pungent horseradish. But oysters are a versatile ingredient and delicious either grilled, deep fried, or broiled.

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Selecting Oysters

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Most oysters are farmed and the flavor can vary greatly depending on the farming conditions. Oysters will have different shapes and sizes depending on their feed and farming space. Oysters grown in smaller spaces will have a diverse range of shell sizes and shapes due to the shellfish adjusting to the tight conditions. Also, environmental factors like high salt content in the water will produce a saltier oyster.

Generally, smaller oysters tend to be sweeter and best eaten raw while larger oysters are meatier and better cooked. A helpful tip when cooking very large oysters is to serve them sliced into smaller pieces after cooking for easier eating and mouthfeel.

Shucking oysters properly is a skill. To learn how, follow this comprehensive oyster shucking guide by The Manual. After the oyster has been shucked, take a look at the oyster itself. If the meat is firm, solid in color and almost reaches the edge of the shell — that’s a good oyster. If the oyster look shrunken, translucent, or milky — don’t eat it. Also, a proper oyster should have a clean, ocean smell instead of being fishy or sour. Finally, a shucked oyster will also have liquid in the shell. This is known as liquor and should not be discarded as it contains a much of the natural oyster flavor.

Seasoning and Cooking

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There are countless ways to cook oysters, ranging from grilled in the shell to deep fried with bread crumbs. Cooking will change the flavor of oysters, making them meatier. Raw oysters have a slippery texture that can be off-putting to some people. A cooked oyster will not have those qualities. Remember, oysters can easily overcook so pay careful attention to the cooking time.

Free feel to get creative with seasoning. Oysters are tasty when paired with garlic, herbs, and even cheese in the classic Oyster Rockefeller. Cooked oysters are also delicious with spicy and herbaceous vinaigrettes. Try mixing garlic, shallots, lime juice, and chopped raw chilis for a quick and fragrant sauce.

Grilled Oysters Divorciados

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(By Chef Ford Fry)

Chef Ford Fry is an award-winning chef-owner of Atlanta’s Jct. Kitchen, No. 246, The Optimist and Oyster Bar, King + Duke, St. Cecilia, and founder of Ford Fry Restaurants. This recipe is featured in his cookbook, Tex-Mex .

Ingredients:

  • 24 raw oysters
  • 1/2 cup Chile de Arbol Butter (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Chimichurri Butter (recipe follows)
  • Rock salt
  • 12 lime wedges

Method:

  1. Heat a charcoal grill to high.
  2. Clean the outside of the oysters under running water to remove excess dirt and grit.
  3. Hold one oyster in a thick towel with the hinge side sticking out. Insert the tip of an oyster knife under the hinge and twist until the top shell lifts away.
  4. While holding the oyster level, so as not to allow the liquid inside to spill, slide the tip of the knife around the edge of the shell. Use the knife to detach the muscle from the top shell and pull the shells apart. Remove the top shell.
  5. Wipe away any dirt or grit that is inside. Use the knife and flip the oyster, detaching it from the shell. Place the oysters in their half shells on a baking sheet and keep them level.
  6. Top 12 of the oysters with 1 tsp of Chile de Arbol butter each and the remaining 12 oysters with 1 tsp of the Cilantro Chimichurri butter each.
  7. Set the oysters on the grill grate directly over the fire, making sure they sit level so their juices and the butters don’t run out.
  8. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters plump and the butter is melted and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Transfer the oysters to a serving platter lined with rock salt. Serve family style with the lime wedges on the side.

Chile de Arbol Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Super-Spicy “staff only” salsa (page 116 of the cookbook) or store-bought hot sauce

Method:

  1. Place the butter and salsa in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. The butter will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cilantro Chimichurri Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro Chimichurri (store-bought or homemade)

Method:

  1. Place the butter and chimichurri in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. The butter will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Spicy Fried Oysters

(By Chef Stephanie Harris-Uyidi of The Posh Pescatarian)

Chef Stephanie Harris-Uyidi is the producer and charismatic host of the popular travel-cooking-adventure series Appetite for Adventure! The show airs in over 15 countries, including the U.S. She is also the author of The Posh Pescatarian . Her second cookbook is scheduled to be released in 2021, featuring over 175 international and coastal inspired recipes.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 (8-ounce) jars oysters, drained
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried lavender, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 2 cups canola oil for frying

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the oyster along with the sea salt, cayenne pepper, dried lavender, white pepper and thyme. Mix to combine. Marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups of canola oil to a deep skillet and heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the corn flour and half of the oysters. Gently toss the oysters in the corn flour to coat.
  4. Set the oysters aside and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. This will allow them to form a crust. Proceed with the other oysters.
  5. Next, fry the oysters for 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Serve in a sandwich, atop a bed of greens or simply enjoy as is.

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Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
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