Oyster Shucking Adventure. Don’t Try this at Home…

We love oysters.  Such tasty little creatures.  Ordering a dozen at a restaurant is such a tease.  We want LOTS of oysters.  I have happy memories of sitting at Felix’s in New Orleans eating four or five dozen at one sitting.  While I have bought two oyster shuckers, the few times I attempted to shuck an oyster or two has ended in disaster so it was something I never really pursued. 

But this time, it was going to be different.  This time, we would get the husband to do it.  There was a high degree of motivation on both our parts, as Quality Seafood has dozens of varieties to sample, and doing it ourselves would be dramatically cheaper. (Quality Seafood will also shuck them for you if there are not too many and they are not too busy, but then you spill all the juice (“liquor”) getting them home, so we didn’t want to take that route. 

So we invested $10 in a “top of the line” shucker as well as a good tool to scrub them. (Men like when you can buy tools for a job.) 

Here is the selection of oysters and our comments:
Ease of Shucking: Scale of 1 to 5, 1 being easiest to shuck
Flavor: Scale of 1 to 5, 1 being most preferred taste (IMHO)

1) Kumomotos:
Cost: $1.95/ea
Length of shell:  2-3″  the smallest of the group
Shucking:  2
Flavor: 3
Comments: mild, sweet, not briney at all.  Also the least “oystery” of the oysters.  Recommended for oyster neophytes.

2) Hamma Hammas
Cost: $1.60/ea
Length of shell:  4-6″  the largest of the group
Shucking:  5
Flavor: 2
Comments: Very sweet, briney without being bitter, meaty, fleshy.  Best bang for buck

3) Bajas
Cost: $1.29/ea
Length of shell:  4/5″  the smallest of the group
Shucking:  4
Flavor: 5
Comments: Yuk. After tasting them, we deep fried the rest.  Stupid seafood guy said “these are a great value.” Just awful.

4) Sammish Bay
Cost: $1.60/ea
Length of shell:  Round: diameter of 1-2″. The oyster itself is larger than kumomoto
Shucking:  4
Flavor: 2
Comments: A bit sweeter than hamma hammas, nice and briney.  Our second favorite.

5) Malpeque
Cost: $1.89/ea
Length of shell:  3″ diameter. Also round
Shucking:  1.5 Easiest to shuck
Flavor: 4
Comments: We expected to like these more. Sharper brineyness with a tinge of bitterness. Not as sweet. Strong flavor, but more of brine than oyster.  Nice texture. 

6) Miyagis
Cost: $1.70/ea
Length of shell:  2-3″
Shucking:  2.5
Flavor: 3.5
Comments: Underlying flavor excellent, but too briney/salty. These would be better cooked in something. 

Conclusions: While Scot did get pretty good at shucking by the end of the night, it came at a cost.  There was at least one blood-causing injury, a huge mess, and annoying little shell shards in many of the oysters.  I also wasn’t counting on the occasional tiny little worms. (On the outside of the shell, but still, Ew.) Being that we were paying $1.60-$1.90 an oyster anyway, we might as well pay $2.50-$3.00 restaurant charges next time.  Oh, and I still say that East Coast/Gulf Coast oysters are best. 

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