Oyster Feast 101

August 5th is National Oyster Day and my friends and I took advantage of it! Harris Teeter had a sale going for $15.99 per half a bushel (50 count). This ends up being $3.84 for a dozen! I don’t know about you but I don’t see that price often and I took full advantage of the situation. A few of us went in on a couple of bushels to have ourselves a little oyster feast.

In this post, I am going to go over some essential items you will need to have an Oyster Feast at home just like we did. Unfortunately, it is hard to explain in writing how to shuck an oyster, so check out this youtube video from America’s Test Kitchen on how to do so, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy.

You will see through out the ingredients list for each recipe, vinegar or lemon and shallots are a component. Shallots pair very nicely with oysters and an acid like vinegar or lemon counteract the briny oysters.

Eating Oysters:

Raw, grilled, or steamed – in that order- are my favorite way to devour oysters. When purchasing oysters, you want them to have a fresh sea smell, nothing bad smelling.

  • Preparation: No matter which way you eat them, you should clean them first. If they have any mud, grit, or seaweed on them, scrub them good in cold water focusing on the edges where it will open. This will prevent mud and grit from getting in the oyster when cooking or shucking them.
  • Raw is more time consuming when shucking them yourself, however, is the most natural and flavorful way to eat an oyster. You can eat them straight from the shell with the oyster liquor or top with some lemon juice, cocktail sauce, or my favorite- mignonette.
  • Grilled is can be quick or time-consuming. You can just throw the oysters on the grill as they are and take them off as they pop open to eat them. I prefer to shuck them first and set them gently on the grill and put a butter topping on them and shut the grill to just warm them through. This was the crowd favorite at my house.
  • Steamed is a quick way to cook a bunch of oysters. Just fill a pot about one-quarter full with water or a light beer then place some oysters on a rack to steam for about 10 minutes. Even if they don’t open (some are meatier and take longer) they will be cooked.
Grilled oysters with garlic shallot butter lying on a bed of kosher salt to prevent stabilize them.

Condiments:

  • Lemon– classic and simple. A light squirt of lemon juice on top of an oyster gives it a bright fresh pop along side the briny-ness of the oyster. A must have anytime you are eating fresh oysters.
  • Mignonette– a vinegar based sauce with shallots and cracked black pepper. The sauce balances the briny oysters much like a squirt of lemon would. I took the basic version and added some cucumber for an additional pop of freshness. Once you get the basic recipe down you can mix it up any way you want by adding- jalapenos, herbs, ginger and many other options.
  • Cocktail Sauce– a typical ketchup based sauce to have with most types of seafood. The cocktail sauce will give the oysters a little kick from the horseradish. If you have a saltine cracker, put a dollop of cocktail sauce on the cracker and top with a raw oyster and eat up!
Cocktail sauce, lemons, and mignonette are all you need to enjoy some fresh oysters.

What you need:

  1. Fresh oysters on ice
  2. Oyster shucker
  3. Leather gloves (optional, but recommended)
  4. Towels
  5. Condiments (mignonette, cocktail sauce, lemons)
  6. Pot and rack insert to steam them (optional)
  7. Grill (optional)

TIP #1: Serve shucked oysters on a bed or rock or kosher slat to keep them from spilling or rocking side to side.

The Condiment Recipies:

Cucumber Mignonette:

  • 3 Tbs. Cucumber- 2 inch piece of cucumber, peeled and seeded, finely minced
  • 3 Tbs Shallot- 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Finely mince the shallots and cucumber- small mince because you don’t want the pieces to over power the small oyster
  2. In a bowl mix the sugar, salt, and red wine vinegar together until they are dissolved
  3. Add the cucumber, shallots, and black pepper and lightly mix all ingredients
  4. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, then serve with oysters
Finely minced cucumber and shallot.

Garlic Shallot Butter:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (can use 2 tsp. of garlic powder instead)
  • 1 tsp. shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley chopped (can use 1 tsp. of dried parsley instead)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and keep at room temperature
  2. Place a shucked oyster, with the oyster liquor still in the shell, on the grill
  3. Add a small dollop of the butter mixture on top of the oyster
  4. Shut the grill lid and cook for 3-5 minutes on indirect heat
    1. Cook for 5-7 minutes if you want the oyster cooked all the way through (will reduce to half the original size)
  5. Carefully remove the oyster without losing any of the oyster liquor and butter sauce
  6. Serve on a bed of salt to keep them from tipping over, wait about a minute before eating as the sauce and oyster liquor will be hot

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. horseradish
  • 2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-8 dashes of hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then serve alongside the oysters
Left: Mignonette Right: Cocktail

TIP #2: If you have stoneware, throw it in the freezer for an hour and use it to place your oysters on it to keep them nice and cold. Below is a picture of my RockCroc Grill Stone from Pampered Chef with oysters on it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and plan on trying some of these tasty condiments next time you eat oysters. If you have any additional tips feel free to share them in the comments below.

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