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How To Shuck Oysters

First Posted: 11/02/2011 3:53 pm Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

Intimidated by shucking your own oysters? Don't be! Chef Howard Clark from The Culinary Institute of America shows you how easy it is to do at home. Because oyster shells are very sharp, it's important to protect your hands, so he starts by placing the oyster inside of a folded kitchen towel. (Scrub the oyster first to ensure it's free of grit and sand.) Since he's right handed, chef Clark turns the hinge so it's facing to the right.

Insert the oyster knife directly into the hinge. Push and twist at the same time -- more twisting than pushing, he advises. The oyster has one adductor muscle on the top shell, so he runs the knife along the top shell to cut it so that when he opens the oyster, it will be whole. Lastly, he loosens the adductor muscle so the oyster is free to slide off and places it on ice to ensure freshness.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Clark from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: shucking oysters.

When we shuck an oyster it is very important to have protection in your hand. The oyster knife could very easily slip, so we want to make sure we have a side towel. We take an oyster that has been scrubbed: it's very important that we scrub them first. We're going to place the oyster, because I am right-handed, with the hinge facing to my right. Cover that with a side towel and insert the oyster knife directly into the hinge, then push and twist at the same time.

An oyster has one adductor muscle located right about here. When I get that oyster open, I'm going to bring my knife along the top shell, cutting that adductor muscle, so that when we open this oyster he will be a whole oyster. There is your adductor muscle. We're going to loosen that, so when your guest eats this it will will be slidable off. We're going to put that oyster over here on ice, and now I'll do another one.

Insert the knife, push and twist; there's actually more twisting than pushing. Again, we're going to run the knife along the top shell, so that when we open it - there's your adductor muscle - we're going to loosen that, and keep it on ice. And that's how we shuck an oyster.


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