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How to Shuck Oysters

Shucking ranks surprisingly high on the difficulty/danger scale. But if you're determined to try your hand at it, here's how.

Photo: ngould

Oysters are great with a horseradish, cocktail sauce, or a mignonette -- they also work well on their own, pure and simple. Here’s what you need to do before you enjoy them.

1. Start with fresh, live oysters. The shells should be tightly closed and moist (like a wet rock). A good oyster will be a bit heavy.
2. Using a kitchen towel to protect your hand, hold the oyster curved-side-down in your palm.
3. Wedge your paring or oyster knife between the shells into the hinge that connects them.
4. Twist the knife like you would a key, until you feel the “pop” of the muscle detaching. Scrape the inside of the top shell to fully detach it.
5. Remove the top shell.
6. Use your fingers to clean out any broken pieces from the shell.
7. Use the knife to sever the oyster from the bottom muscle so it’s easier to eat -- then serve it on the half shell.

Nestpert: Chef Laurence Edelman, at the helm of The Mermaid Inn, Upper West Side kitchen in New York City, brings his passion for seafood to life with every dish he serves -- but he's happiest when he's shucking oysters. In November 2010, Chef Edelman and owner Daniel Abrams opened The Mermaid Oyster Bar in the West Village in NYC, where Edelman is the Executive Chef.

-- The Nest Editors

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