At first glance, oysters may not be your idea of a perfect picture. With its rough outer shell contrasted with its slippery and slimy flesh, it’s no surprise if you grew up in fear of these sea creatures. But for us Australians fortunate enough to discover the treasures of seafood, oysters are a favourite delicacy among our local coastal communities. For residents closer to the seaside, we like eating oysters fresh. Typically this just involves opening the shell, squeezing a little lemon or lime juice on it, and gulping down the meat. But not all stomachs can handle the oyster’s natural taste and texture. So for those of you seafood lovers who can’t bare the thought of fresh seafood, here are alternative cooking methods to get you started on an oyster diet:
To prepare oysters, scrub down the outside of the shells with a scrub brush and cold water to remove all the dirt. You may need gloves for this process, as oyster shells can be quite sharp – particularly around the edges. Discard any oysters with open or cracked shells, as they may be compromised produce.
Cooking Method 1: Steaming
A common method of preparing oysters is to steam them in their shells. Don’t do your pre-cooking preparations too many hours in advanced because it can kill them and subsequently, leave you with less-than-fresh produce. You can add flavours and fragrance to your oysters such as by adding beer or a glass of wine to the steaming liquid.
Cooking Method 2: Roasting Oysters
This involves placing your oysters flat side down on a grill while its still in its shell. You can cook the oyster whole or on the half-shell, depending on when you want to season it. If you want to cook your seasoning in to your oysters, you will need to shuck them before seasoning them and putting them on the grill. If you choose to season them after cooking, leave flesh in their shells until they cook.
Cooking Method 3: Frying Oysters
Effectively, this is done by removing the flesh from the shell, coating the meat in a flour salt, pepper and and egg batter, then deep-frying it.
Cooking Method 4: Traditional Oyster Roast
Firstly, a traditional oyster roast requires a good-sized fire that will fit a sheet of metal or metal grating that will contain the oysters. It involves covering the oysters with a wet burlap sack or beach towel, then placing them on top of the sheet of metal that sits on over the fire.
Check Them Before You Eat Them:
Typically, cooking oysters will take 5 to 10 minutes. The indicator for a cooked oyster is that their shells have opened up. If they don’t open after 10 minutes of cooking them, throw them away. If you’re cooking them on the half-shell, look out for the meat tightening and the bubbling liquid in the shell. When deep-frying the meat of your oysters, check that the batter is a golden brown – it should take about 2 minutes for the meat to cook.