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Feb 2, 2008 08:17 AM

Raw oysters [Moved from Home Cooking board]

Last night I bought a few raw oysters from my local grocer Kowalski's. Is it safe to just quaff these guys down raw? Should I bake them for a bit? Maybe a little fresh squeezed lemon juice?

Help please.

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  1. Start by making sure that each is closed tightly; any one that is partially open is dead and should be discarded. Shucking them is an art form thart comes with practice and a few punctures to your palm. When you open one, its look and smell will confirm whether it is edibly fresh. Baking or juicing a dead oyster is, well, a baked or juiced dead oyster. Best indicator is that they are closed tightly and fight back like they don't want to be opened. That's good eatin'.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Veggo's right-- don't eat dead shellfish!!! I'd want to know how good your grocer is. If you're sure they're alive and fresh (can you find them in a tagged bag with their harvest date? that's how I get mine from the shellfish grower, but I'm spoiled here in WA), and they smell lovely, sure, eat them raw. If they are anything less than ideal, I'd cook them. I like oysters dipped in a little egg, then salt and peppered flour, and fried. YUM. Lemon is good, too. They're also good grilled in the shell.

      1. re: Vetter

        Ahh what a treat those oysters were. They were very fresh and smelled and tasted of the ocean. The first one I added a little sea salt and fresh lemon juice but after that I ate the rest plain. It was a bit difficult opening them but also a fun little chore once I discovered the little jewels of briny delight,

        1. re: EricShawnSmith

          Ahaa! You were destined to enjoy the deliciousness of oysters, and you get to do it the rest of your life!

    2. Hi Eric: I know you've already eaten your oysters but just wanted to share my oyster tips for you for future use.

      We get local ones here (Coast of South Carolina) in clusters by the bushel so they go directly to the car wash to get hosed down. Our car washes have the barrel things that you dump the oysters in then spin and hose them down to get the puff mud (marsh mud) off them.

      This is strictly an outdoor event.

      Then we fire up the grill, load it up with oysters and throw a wet wrung out towel over them.

      While they are cooking, I through some butter in a pan on the grill to melt.

      I make my cocktail sauce with equal parts Heinz catsup (has to be Heinz), horseradish, the juice of one lemon, and a couple of dashes of worshestire sauce.

      Have an oyster glove on and use my oyster knife as a utensil dipping the oyster in a little cocktail sauce.

      OMG they are good.

      Washed down with an ice cold beer of course.

      Sheer bliss.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BlueHerons

        as a newbie oyster-shucker myself--- get a chainmail/glove-- its a mesh glove made of metal-- to wear on you ''oyster-holding -hand'' .. never a gash - and well worth an investment.. love to eat a variety of oysters out at restaurants too

        1. re: kewpie

          kewpie, I just get cheap garden gloves because I throw them away. I've been eating oysters all my life and have never had a gash.

          I would hate to hang on to anything that gets oyster juice all over it aside from my oyster knives but I've been known to throw those away also.

          1. re: kewpie

            Kewpie, roasted oysters are so easy to pop open that the light cotton gloves are mostly to keep your hands clean and so they don't get scraped on the rough oyster shells. The knife opens them just by sliding it between the shells at the hinge.
            I've even been to black-tie oyster roasts in the Carolinas with 50 or more people popping open roasted oysters, knocking back cocktails and having a grand old time. Uniformed waiters carrying in trays of hot oysters from pits outside. Nobody got so much as a scratch. Just cotton gloves to stay tidy.

            1. re: MakingSense

              That's because when they are roasted they are dead. The cold live ones have a muscle that connects the hinged shells that will give you and your shucking knife a fair fight.

              1. re: Veggo

                Yes, we know that. Roasted oysters are warm. Cooked. Dead. That's why it's so easy and you don't need the chainmail glove that kewpie suggested that is a good idea for novice shuckers. Plus your Blue Cross/Blue Shield card if you've had a few beers.

                I have however used the microwave to make it easier to open oysters. It took a few tries but I learned how long to zap them for to relax that muscle and still have the oyster cold and raw. Maybe not a fair fight but it saved me a lot of time when I had to open several dozen in a hurry.