Fresh oysters on a plate of sea salt;How To

Recipe: How to Open Oysters

09 Feb 2015

Spoil your loved one with this marine starter this Valentine's

1. Run oysters 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

2. 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

3. 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 1½ cm

4. 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 1½ cm and the tip pointed slightly up

5. 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

6. The oyster is now completely opened. Carefully wipe away any grit that may be on the inside of the oyster. Never wash an oyster after it has been opened as it affects the flavour. Place on a bed of ice or refrigerate until required

Which knife?
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 inexpensive so if you’re going to buy oysters in the shell, make sure you spend a little extra on getting a proper knife