When it comes to oysters, I like mine best au natural.Â That’s not to say that a spritz of lemon or a dab of horse radish isn’t welcome, but at an oyster party, I’ll be the guy who is working the knife and slurping away; occasionally handing one to a wistful looking non-shucker.
Some Floridians will eat oysters year-round.Â They say, that with modern refrigeration and such, that the old “don’t eat them in months without an “r” (as in “arrrrr matey; but that’s a different story) no longer applies.Â Maybe that’s the case, but for me, some traditions are worth following.
Despite the best efforts of coastal developers who dump fertilizer on coastal lawns and (eeeew) golf courses, the oysters from our local waters are still (IMHO) the best in the world.Â OK; I haven’t had oysters from all over the world, but have eaten them around the US, in Europe and in Asia.Â From my limited sample, the gems from Carrabelle, Apalachacola and Eastpoint consistantly rate the best.
There are them that like them fried or baked with spinach, bacon and parm (Oysters Rockefeller rap from wikipedia.org here).Â A lot of oyster party buddies like to throw them on the grill and give them an internal steam.Â For me, the closer they are to the saltwater mud they were pulled from, the better.
Last night, at an oyster party, a friend complimented me on my shucking skills.Â My secret is to pick the sliders that have the best hinges and open them. Â I leave the rest for the grill or to confuse folks who think that they can out-shuck me.
I have a variety of shucking knives, including one made out of a railroad spike and several I bought from a knife specialist at the Tsujiki fish market in Tokyo.Â My favorite is this baby from Dexter Russell, a commercial kitchen implement manufacture.Â It fits well in my hand and seems to give me the control needed to pop those babies open.
You can find oyster knives at our local seafood vendors or you can make me richer than my wildest dreams by clicking below and ordering one via amazon.com.
Sani-Safe Oyster Knife
The risk assessment folks suggest that people who have certain health conditions should avoid eating raw oysters.Â From my perspective, each rational adult should make her or his own decision about eating them raw.Â If you decide that oysters aren’t for you, that’s just fine with me.Â It means that there are more left for those of us who love them.
Top image is Three Oysters by Hajime NAKANO. This image is from flickr via wikimedia and is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution license.