Crushed ice or rock salt
Scrub the oysters under cold water with a stiff brush to remove the dirt, especially in the hinge area where mud has a tendency to get trapped. Next, find a durable thick cloth and fold it over several times to create a square; this will steady the oysters as you shuck them and also protect your hand. Using the towel as a mitt, place the oyster, cup-side down in the palm of your towel-covered hand with the hinge facing you; have a small bowl handy to catch the delicious juice. Insert the tip of an oyster knife or dull butter knife as far into the hinge as it will go; don’t jab it in there or you could break the shell. With gentle force, twist the knife back and forth to pry the shell open. Using the knife, cut the muscle away from the top shell, bend the shell back, and discard it. Run the knife underneath the oyster to detach it completely, but leave it in its shell. Tip out the briny liquor into the bowl and pour it back over the shucked oysters. Nestle the oysters in a bed of crushed ice or rock salt to keep them steady. Spoon the cucumber mignonette on top and serve as part of a raw shellfish bar.
Cucumber Mignonette Sauce:
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 hothouse cucumber, peeled and minced
Several turns freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, shallots, ginger, cucumber, black pepper, and cilantro; mixing with a fork. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to the day before you plan to serve, to allow the flavors to come together. Serve with raw oysters and clams.
To eat a raw oyster you will need to do the following:
1. Pick up one of the oysters by the shell.
2. Use the cocktail fork that comes with your order to detach the oyster from its shell.
3. When you are sure the oyster is no longer attached to the shell, put the edge of the shell against your bottom lip.
4. Slurp the oyster into your mouth. You know what to do from here! Enjoy your raw oysters!
A few questions you might have:
Should I swallow the oyster or chew it? You should chew it! How else will you know what it tastes like?
Should I use any type of seasoning? Some people like to put seasoning on their oysters before eating them. Popular choices include cocktail sauce, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice.