Welcome to the official, inaugural post in our how-to series! When we started RP, this was part of our vision - quick, useful, entertaining how-tos to make sure that you're prepared for all situations. Be sure to send us feedback and let us know what you'd like to see us learn/share! **Photo credits to our dear friend David Trudo.
How to shuck an oyster.
Colby stared at me.
"...wait, they're ALIVE?" David (our photographer) asked.
Yeah. You want to eat your oysters alive - or at least cook them while they're alive. That's why you want the oysters (or mussels) with the closed shell. An open shell typically indicates that the oyster has ceased to oyst (not a word.)
Once you get your oysters (I get mine from a fish market on 5th Avenue in Park Slope,) here's how to open them:
Place your knife in the hinge (narrower) side of the oyster. Twist. If the oyster doesn't give, try it from the side of the hinge. Then try it from the other side. Then go along the middle of the hinge line again. Typically you'll find a way to get the knife securely in there. Once the knife is officially inside the oyster, twist. The top and bottom shells should start separating. Remove the top shell completely.
For sauces, check out one of these recipes. What they refer to as a "classic" sauce is typically referred to as a mignonette and you'll see it that way on menus.