Food How to Skip Shucking (But Keep Eating) Oysters at Home

21:35  09 february  2020
21:35  09 february  2020 Source:   epicurious.com

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a close up of food on a grill: The towel is there to protect my hand from heat, nothing else—no Valentine's Day oyster-knife injury risk here.© Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell The towel is there to protect my hand from heat, nothing else—no Valentine's Day oyster-knife injury risk here.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that slurping raw oysters with your lover is sexy and fun. Watching your lover (or anyone for that matter) struggle and fumble to open raw oysters without the right skills or tools is neither sexy nor fun. Ditto if you're the person being watched do the same.

Valentine's Day is coming up, though. And raw oysters to start your romantic dinner at home sounds like fun, right? Unless you are an experienced pro (and even then: I'm a classically trained cook and I'm still no good at shucking oysters), I think you should save that potentially embarrassing effort for another night. But don't skip the oysters! Just learn how to open oysters in the oven instead.

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I learned this trick from a dear family friend, who happens to be an expert oyster shucker but prefers the warmth of a roasted-but-not-fully-cooked oyster on the half shell on a chilly winter night. The method couldn't be simpler: roast oysters in a super-hot oven just until the top shell pops about 1/4 inch open from the bottom, then pull the top shell of each bivalve off by hand, with a little help from a butter knife for leverage. There's no stabbing and jiggling and digging around required, because the muscle that holds the oyster closed tight has been released in the warm oven. When you open it up, the oyster inside is revealed, swimming in its liquor and still mostly raw but warm to the touch. If the idea of warm raw oysters sounds strange, stay with me: I promise it's a surprisingly pleasing, luxurious slurp. And so satisfyingly easy to pull off.

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Before you begin to roast, it's important to place your raw oysters on something that will help keep them steady. You don't want them to tip and lose their liquor as soon as they pop open in the oven. I use a wire cooling rack fitted into a sheet pan, but if you don't have one, simply line your baking sheet with a layer of coarse salt, which will cradle the oysters nicely. The same goes for the plate you serve them on: unless you've got one of those cute vintage oyster plates, line your serving dish with salt to prevent spillage.

Here's the final trick: To go with the just-barely-oven-roasted oysters, I make a simple mignonette just like I would for cold raw oysters, but stir warm melted butter into the mix just before serving. That warm butter really ties it all together and makes eating the warmed raw oyster that much more decadent and right.

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