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How to Open an Oyster

My post about oyster chowder prompted a friend of mine to say, “once I go to all the trouble (and usually, bloodshed) of shucking oysters, the last thing I want to do is cook them!” Every time I open oysters now, this rings in my ears.

And his words (especially “bloodshed”) got me to thinking that I treated the small but vital detail about how to open them a bit too lightly. So I made a 46-second video this afternoon. And I’d like to offer the following pointers.

First, start with small oysters. They’re much easier to open than large ones (when making the chowder with the six too-big-to-eat ones, I not only broke a sweat, but I seriously contemplated getting out a hammer and smashing one or two of them).

Second, wear gloves. Because I tend to get eczema on my hands, I do all my cooking while wearing heavy blue Nitrile gloves. (Also, if you’re not wearing gloves, you can stabilize the oyster while opening it by placing it on a dishcloth.)

Third, practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. I hope you like the video.



I bought a dozen and a half oysters today, and ate most of them for lunch with Santa Maria. I have six left over now, and I’m thinking about making a tomato-based oyster chowder. Anyone have any suggestions?


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