Tip: Shucking Oysters and Clams
Chef Stone gets almost poetic when talking about his favorite shellfish: "A freshly shucked oyster takes your mind straight to happy days by the beach and often signals the beginning of a celebration or special occasion."
But anybody who has tried it knows that prying open the shell isn't always the easiest or safest task. All you have to do is remember these four easy steps:
- Put a dishrag on a table and fold it over. Place the oyster on the dishrag cup side down, with the hinge sticking out. Fold the rag over the top of the oyster and grip it.
- Gently insert the tip of your oyster knife into the hinge. Don't try to shove it, or you'll break the shell and mangle the oyster (or, like Daffin, earn a free trip to the emergency room).
- Gently wiggle the knife back and forth until the hinge pops. Don't get impatient, or the shell (often more brittle with farmed oysters) could crack. Run the blade around the edge to open.
- Scrape the blade along the underside of the top shell to cut the connecting muscle; discard top. Then scrape the edge of the knife under the meat to cut the bottom muscle.
- Top with ketchup, tobacco, lemon, or whatever you like on top and enjoy!