How to eat oysters

  • By Richard Corrigan

Richard Corrigan, owner of historical heavyweight, Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill shares his top 10 tips for eating oysters to help make your special meal a sophisticated affair.

Oysters on silver platter

1. If you are going to cook an oyster you can steam them for 20-30 seconds, which makes them easier to open. Don't overdo it however, they are delicate things and don't take to being cooked twice.

2. Seasoning oysters for cooking is undoubtedly tricky. Their inherent salinity should not be mistaken for seasoning however. Lots of cream or butter - Rockefeller spring to mind - means the balance changes.

3. Size matters. The bigger your oyster the more meaty, which can be a disadvantage when you are eating them raw, but less so if cooked.

4. Oysters don't need much heat to give off their best flavour. Treat them like rubber and they'll eat like rubber.

Oysters on rock salt
5. Herbs to pair with oysters include parsley, fennel and thyme. Spices like ginger, star anise and chilli work well also.

6. Your source is crucial. We buy direct and have close relationships. In other words we take great care. A fact that is reflected in us never having had an issue. And we get through a lot of oysters.

7. Raw oysters dropped into hot seafood pasta add a welcome silky elegance and saline deliciousness.

8. Oyster sauce isn't an accident. Oysters with soy, garlic, ginger, sugar and leeks work really well together.

9. Oysters and Asian flavourings generally are a thoroughly good combination.

10. If you are serving your cooked oysters in the shell, and it seems a shame not to, don't forget to shuck them fully. In other words, separate them from the shell, otherwise eating is messy!

Put your skills to the test in these oyster recipes:

Oysters with oriental dressing

Grilled oysters with fennel & lemon butter

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