4th September 2018

How to Shuck an Oyster with The Royal Duchy Hotel

There's something very satisfying about opening oysters, It's a bit of an art but actually very easy when you know how!

Choose your oyster
We have two basic types of oyster in this country: the native oyster, which is available when there's an "r" in the month, and the much more widespread Pacific oyster, shaped like a teardrop. Some connoisseurs would argue that natives are far superior, but this country produces some fantastic and delicious Pacific oysters.

Choose your weapon
I'd buy an oyster knife without a guard around the handle: you can control the knife a lot easier if you hold it closer to the blade, making it less likely that you stab yourself.

By all means buy a chain-mail glove to protect your hand but I'd advise using a tea towel that you don't mind getting a bit wet and messy.

To begin...
Wash the oysters in cold water and discard any with gaping shells. Fold the tea towel over your left hand (if you're right-handed) and rest it on a solid surface. Hold the cupped lower shell in your palm with the pointed bit of the oyster – the hinge – pointing towards you. Insert the blade carefully into the gap at the hinge and push it in gently at a slight downward angle, wiggling the blade until you feel the hinge give a little bit. Twist clockwise 90˚ and you should hear a faint click which means you've broken the hinge.

Slide the blade along the inside of the shell to cut the muscle that's holding the lid on: you can peer under the shell to see where it is. Remove the top shell to reveal the beautiful briny oyster in the bottom. If you plan to eat straightaway, slide the knife under the fleshy bit and cut the muscle attaching it to the lower shell. Serve plain or with a squeeze of lemon juice. You can add a few drops of Tabasco or shallots in red wine vinegar, but it's mildly insulting to the oyster to use all three.

When serving oysters on the half shell, some people like them attached to the bottom shell which ensures they’re fresh. Enjoy!

Join us to celebrate this 'shucking-ly' good event this October with a luxury stay on the Cornish coast!