Oysters are a true seafood treasure, the purest essence of the sea. So how do you eat them without embarrassing yourself?
Firstly know what you're about to eat....There are two main species of oyster here in the UK, The Pacific and Rock oyster, which are both the classic teardrop shaped in the shell. However, there’s also the Native, which is identified by its rounder flat shell. Generally, the Native is the rarer on menus and see as the beluga caviar of oysters.
The Pacific is the most commonly found in the UK, and the one most people would have previously encountered. Two specific types that are worth being aware of are from Waterford Bay, Ireland and Jersey, Channel Islands. But, whatever you decide upon, here’s the way to eat them…
Adding lemon juice and tabasco
When your oysters arrive, the usual accompaniments will likely be present: Shallots; vinegar; lemon juice; tabasco. Don’t be too overwhelmed by this display of ingredients.
There’s no right or wrong combination of these elements and it’s all down to your personal taste. However if you are new to this, stick to the classic combination of lemon and tabasco.
‘kissing’ your oyster
The traditional way of enjoying these delicacies is to slide them from the shell into the mouth. Their is however the less commonly known technique called ‘The Kiss’.Whereby you basically kiss with your lips and create light suction that allows the oyster to just fly into your mouth the benefit being that you avoid getting little bits of dirt or chips of shell in your mouth. It’s still not the most refined way to eat them, but considerably better than getting oyster down your chin.
If you really want to taste the flavour, it is crucial to masticate slowly, oysters from different areas have completely different flavours depending on the environment they’re grown in. Very similar to the terroir of grapes and wine. Oysters take on the flavour of the environment it’s grown up in. Chewing therefore is essential in developing the flavour of the oyster in your mouth.