TASTE
10/29/2012 09:02 am ET

Why The Chicken Oyster Is Every Cook's Favorite Part

Wikimedia: Searobin

Have you ever strolled casually into the kitchen just before dinner and discovered whoever roasted the chicken already snacking? Then you've witnessed the aftermath of one of our favorite kitchen rituals. We're here to let you in on every cook's favorite secret: the chicken oysters.

Don't despair. These have nothing to do with Rocky Mountain Oysters or Prairie Oysters. Chicken oysters are simply the two small, oyster-shaped pieces of dark meat that lie on either side of a whole chicken's backbone. Arguably the best part of the chicken, these tender bits are frequently known as the chef's reward for cooking. If we're feeling nice, we'll usually share one with someone else, but we can't admit to always being that generous.

Chicken oysters even have some cinematic fame. In the French film "Amelie," a character named Dominique Bretodeau roasts himself a chicken every night, carves the whole bird, but eats the chicken oysters first. What makes these tiny pieces of meat so coveted? There are only two chicken oysters on every chicken, which makes them a pretty hot commodity. Also, when roasting a chicken, usually breast-side up, the oysters are protected by the body from harsh heat, and continually bathed in fat and roasting juices.

We know what you're thinking, now that you have this information, you want to go out and gorge yourselves on chicken oysters immediately, right? Get yourselves either a half a dozen chickens to roast, or head to the closest Izakaya you can find (sort of a Japanese bar food shrine) where you can always order a few skewers of chicken oyster yakitori.

This video will help you carve a chicken and show you exactly where the chicken oyster lives. Try to control the drool.

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