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Clean the Oyster
Raw oysters on the half shell are a culinary treat. Opening the oysters is a simple task, although it does take a bit of practice:
Continue to 2 of 6 below.
- Clean the outside of the oyster under running water to remove any loose grit or barnacles. Rub the shell with your fingers or use a stiff brush if you have one for this purpose.
- Hold the oyster in a towel or oven mitt with the hinge (pointed side) sticking out. This will protect your hand if the oyster knife slips.
- With the flat side of the oyster up, insert the tip of an oyster knife near the hinge. You only need to insert the knife about 1/2 inch.
- Do not use a regular knife to open oysters. There is too great a risk of slipping and severely injuring yourself.
- An oyster knife is a special blunted knife made for this purpose. They're cheap, too. If you're going to buy oysters in the shell, spend a couple extra bucks for the proper knife.
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Slide the Knife Around the Lip
Continue to 3 of 6 below.
- Holding the oyster firmly, slide the knife around the lip of the oyster until you reach the other side of the hinge.
- The oyster should remain level, so you don't lose the liquid inside.
- Keep the knife inserted about 1/2 inch with the tip pointed slightly up.
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Open the Lid of the Oyster
Continue to 4 of 6 below.
- Keep the oyster level and pry the shell apart with your fingers.
- Before separating the shells completely, use the oyster knife to detach any muscle that still clings to the inside of the top shell.
- Remove the top shell.
04 of 06
Wipe Clean the Opened Oyster
Continue to 5 of 6 below.
- Carefully wipe away any grit that may be on the inside of the completely opened oyster.
- Never wash an oyster after it has been opened. This will definitely affect the flavor.
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Loosen the Oyster
Continue to 6 of 6 below.
- Use the oyster knife to detach the muscle underneath the oyster from the bottom shell.
- Be careful not to spill the liquid.
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- Place the opened oysters on a bed of crushed ice or refrigerate.
- Serve with lemon wedges or a mignonette sauce (1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 shallots finely chopped, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt).