HOW TO ENJOY OYSTERS AT HOME

You all love to order raw oysters when we dine at Amici but have you ever considered bringing the half shell experience back home? It’s surprisingly easy, affordable, and fun! I will explain how.

Pre-order to take home

We have a selection of Champagne and oyster sets that will be a wonderful gift for oyster lovers. Packaged in beautifully rustic wooden boxes, our Mersea oysters will be ready to be pickup with a gorgeous bottle of Amici house Champagne, the perfect accompaniment to our award-winning oysters.

Shucking needs

We have a variety of high-quality oyster knives for sale that are perfect for all your shucking needs.

Haward family cultivating oysters since 1732

The award winning Mersea oysters. Richard supplies some of the finest oysters in the world. For eight generations they have been cultivating Mersea oysters in the River Blackwater, purifying them with that same sea water, giving them their unique and remarkable flavour.

“Just like kissing the sea on the lips”

You received your oyster. Now what?

Make sure that you open the package immediately upon its arrival. Be careful if you want to keep them over ice. As the ice melts and temperature rises, the freshwater can kill the oyster if they’re submerged for an extended period of time, and decide to open back up. Fresh and live oysters will glisten in their shells and should also contain a good amount of liquor. To test its “alive-ness,” scrape a fork prong along its mantle (outermost circumference of flesh). It should/might slowly shrink back

How to store your live oysters to keep them happy:

If you’re not planning to consume the oysters immediately when you receiving them, store them in the fridge take care NOT to freeze them. Covering them with a damp (not sopping wet) paper towel or kitchen towel. Try your best to keep all of cup sides down. They can be kept happy and alive for several days.

Prepare oyster shucking equipment

If you are planning to consume the oysters as soon as you receive them, our chefs could French open the oysters for you. (Oysters are shucked then the top shell is replaced and secured with rubber bands)

You don’t need to be equipped with much to enjoy raw oysters, but it’s important to be safe and use the right tools. All you need to be is:

An oyster knife! Not to be confused with a clam knife or kitchen knife, santoku knife, butter knife, etc.

Some form of hand protection: kitchen towel or shucking glove (Some people are cocky confident enough to shuck barehanded, but I consider that to be a risky proposition!).

As an elegant alternative to a wearing clunky glove, consider the Littledeer Half Sheller. I love using this shucking board to stabilize the shell and collect any runaway juices. It’s a must-have for the at-home shucker. We can supply the equipment with your first order.

If you’re looking to make a good presentation, you’ll also need:

Crushed ice or rock salt: to place the oysters over
Deep plate, platter, or pan: to place the oysters in
Compost bin or trash bag: to discard the shells

We will suppliy all the accoutrements: lemon wedges, lime wedges, mignonette sauce, freshly ground pepper.

So now with all of my equipment and oysters ready at hand, it was now time to start shucking!

Shucking the oysters

When they proclaimed, “The world is your oyster,” they forgot to also disclaim, “if you know how to shuck.” Once you learn how to shuck them, the doors to enjoying fresher, cheaper oysters will open easily for you. We are happy to train you at our restaurant if you would like to come and collect your order.

Understanding the anatomy of an oyster can help with the opening process. Oysters have an upper and lower shell. The main part of the oyster is in the lower shell and we call the top shell the “lid”. Lids are usually bare of any edible part of oyster meat or have just a little. The hinge of the oysters is the thick narrow part. The lips are the thin (and wider) edges that are opposite to the hinge.

The upper and lower shells are kept together inside by a main muscle called the “adductor” muscle. This muscle is the one part of the actual oyster meat to cut when opening an oyster, the rest of the oyster meat should be kept intact. The most common way to open an oyster is by targeting the hinge. An alternative method is to target the right side where the adductor muscle is located – this method works best for oysters that are flatter and have a more regular shape.


Main method – opening on the hinge

Take a thick kitchen towel, double it if needed. This is very important for hand protection.
Hold the oyster with the towel using your left hand, hinge facing you.
Using an oyster knife, gradually apply pressure and oscillate around the hinge.
Once the knife comes in, reach straight for the adductor and make one clean cut.
Open the oyster, rinse lightly to remove any broken shell pieces.
Test the oyster is alive by poking lightly around the lips. They should retract. Double-check with a smell, the oyster should smell fresh and like the ocean, but not fishy or bad. Do not eat if the oyster smells bad or does not retract when poked.

By now you should be enjoying the oysters…