Oysters in the early 19th century were often consumed by the majority of the working class. As demand grew, there were not enough oysters for sale, and the price of these shellfish started to rise. Today, oysters are considered a high quality food. Most of its varieties can be consumed and many types can be eaten raw or in the shell. In general, smaller oysters are best served raw, while larger varieties such as Pacific oysters are used in recipes. They can be steamed, roasted, grilled or fried. The following are some of the most common methods of preparing oysters.
Method 1 of 4: Steamed Oysters
Step 1. Prepare the oysters for steaming
Rub the outside of the shells under cold running water to remove any dirt. Discard open or cracked shells as this is a sign that the oyster is dead or bad.
Do not wash oysters for many hours before eating them, as this can kill them. Chemical substances like chlorine and poisons like lead can detract from the freshness and purity of oysters
Step 2. Prepare liquid for steam
Put 5 cm of water in a pot. Add half a glass of beer or a glass of wine for flavor and aroma. Place the metal pan or colander in the pan and add the oysters. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pan with the lid.
Step 3. Leave the oysters in the boiling liquid for approximately 5 minutes
Turn heat to medium-high and leave for another 5 or 10 minutes - 5 minutes for medium and 10 for well cooked. By now, most of them have opened. Discard the ones that didn't open.
Step 4. Alternatively, you can steam the oysters in a roasting pan on the grill
Leave them evenly in an old baking dish with a little water. Leave on medium-high heat, cover your grill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
When the shells open, it is a sign that the oysters are ready. Discard the ones that didn't open during the process
Method 2 of 4: Roasting Oysters
Step 1. Prepare the oysters for the grill
Rub the outside of the shells under cold running water to remove any dirt. Discard open or cracked shells. Leave the oysters in the water for a short time and remove and let them drain.
Step 2. Prepare the grid
Use one that is charcoal or gas. Leave at medium-high temperature. Place the oysters directly on the grill.
Step 3. Decide whether you want to cook the oysters whole or in a half shell
Although there is little difference in method, it all depends on whether you want to season them first or leave them unseasoned until it's time to eat them. If you want to season them first, opening them is the best option. If you prefer to leave it for later or not season them, leave the oysters in their shells while they cook.
How to open the oysters? Wrap the tops of them in a towel or put on gloves for protection. Slide an oyster knife along its hinge (the back of it) and then twist the knife, turning your wrist as if you were turning on the ignition in your car with a key. Run the blade across the top of the shell, twisting to open it. Release your ligament with the knife
Step 4. Prepare a dressing for half shell oysters (optional)
They're good both raw and cooked in their own brine, but a seasoning can make them even more delicious. Search for ideas according to your own taste. For inspiration, try some of these spices:
- Butter and garlic;
- Butter and soy sauce;
- Butter, onion, parsley, pecorino cheese, cayenne and paprika;
- Barbecue sauce.
Step 5. Cook the oysters
Keep the grill lid closed for 5 or 6 minutes. Open a little and check. What you expect will be different depending on how you decide to prepare:
- Whole oysters must be open. You will initially notice a line starting to separate the shell. See if they are bubbling inside the small separation. Discard unopened oysters after 5-10 minutes.
- Half-shell oysters should be examined before and during the opening process to ensure they are safe to eat. If the oyster has been opened before or does not show any resistance to opening, discard it. Oysters prepared in a half shell will decrease a little in size when they are done; your liquid will bubble up and help cook them for 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 6. Carefully remove whole or half-shell oysters so that they retain their juices
Serve with butter, lemon or as is.
Method 3 of 4: Frying Oysters
Step 1. Prepare the skillet
Heat the pan to 190°C.
Step 2. Open your oysters
Wrap the top of it in a towel and carefully slide an oyster knife along its hinge. Twist the knife by twisting your fist to open it. Then slide the knife up, lifting the top of the shell and leaving it loose enough. With the knife under the oyster, remove it from the shell.
Step 3. Cover the oysters before frying
Use flour, salt and black pepper. Lightly mix 2 eggs in a separate bowl. Drain 350 g of shelled oysters and pass them in the egg. Cover them with the dry mixture. They must be completely covered and the excess flour removed.
Step 4. Fry the oysters.
Place 5 or 6 oysters at a time in the skillet. Leave them for 2 minutes until they turn golden.
Step 5. Serve the dish hot and enjoy
Method 4 of 4: Traditionally Roasting Oysters
Step 1. Wash the oysters thoroughly
Wear gloves so the rough exterior of the shells doesn't scrape your hands as you clean them. Wash them in a place where runoff water will not damage your garden or equipment.
- Again, wash the oysters immediately before roasting them. Washing too soon can kill them, making them inedible.
- Oysters from a supplier are usually washed after they're picked, but it doesn't hurt to rinse them off. Better safe than sorry.
Step 2. Light a fire big enough for your sheet metal
If you don't have one, use a rack to place the oysters.
- Place four concrete blocks at the edge of your fire, positioned in a rectangle so that they support the sheet metal over the fire.
- When the fire starts to subside, place the sheet metal on top of the cinder blocks and wait for it to heat up. Do not forget to wash the utensil before using it. If you splash a few drops of water onto the sheet metal and they evaporate, the surface is ready to use.
Step 3. Place the oysters on top of the sheet metal in a single layer
Make sure you have enough. Calculate between 6 and 16 oysters per person.
Step 4. Cover the oysters with a jute bag or wet beach towel and let them cook completely
Although jute works a little better than towels (and does not become unsuitable when receiving steam), towels are perfectly acceptable.
- Leave the oysters for 8 to 10 minutes to finish cooking. If you prefer that they are not cooked well, leave them for 8 minutes. If you prefer better cooked, leave them under the jute for a few more minutes.
- Discard oysters that do not open half an inch after 10 minutes.
Step 5. While you wait for the grill to heat up again, which can take a few minutes, enjoy the first batch of oysters with friends
Repeat the process until it is hot enough to receive the new batch of oysters.
- Oysters, especially those raised in warmer waters like the Gulf of Mexico, can harbor the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. It can cause illness and be a threat to people at high risk, such as those with compromised immune systems. To reduce the risk of contamination, eat well-cooked oysters. Fry or boil them for at least 3 minutes, and bake them for at least 10 minutes. If you consume raw oysters, avoid eating oysters that are caught in the summer months, as they may come from waters that are more likely to contain the bacteria.
- Be careful when handling hot oil. Use a long spoon and stay away from the pan while placing the oysters to avoid splashing. Close the frying pan lid if the oil is bouncing and reduce the heat to avoid possible burns.