In my opinion nothing beats oysters at a good seafood restaurant. But did you know that you could harvest your own oysters? And that it’s easy. And even tastier than at the restaurant.
On a good day I can harvest a bucket full of oysters in a couple of minutes. With guests waiting, and enjoying their wine there is no rush. You need local knowledge of your shoreline and you have to be willing to get wet. The reward is outstanding!
Oysters live on a firm bottom from just below low tide level to about two meters. They often grow on small rocks and mussels. The water needs to reach about 16-18 degrees celsius during summer, but the quality of the meat is at it’s best during fall and into the winter. You can certainly eat oysters all year around.
Oysters are safe to eat straight out of the sea, but you need to know that the algae that they feed on are safe. In Norway we have a website to tell us if they are safe. Find your local fisherman or online service.
In my book there is only three ways to prepare oysters. The best one is freshly shucked straight out of the water. A few drops of lemon does not hurt but it will cover the great taste. If your guests enjoy oysters this is the way to serve them. The taste and texture of the oyster is unsurpassed in this manner.
To shuck the shells you need a knife and a steady careful hand. I use an oysterknife or a dull knife of any kind. You can probably learn to shuck oysters in about two minutes on youtube. A great video you can find here.
An other favourite is to put the whole oyster on the BBQ and turn up the heat. When you can hear them POP they are ready. With this technique you can open a lot of oysters for a lot of people in no time. Just make sure the lovely oystergravy from inside the shell stays in the shell when serving it.
Now, if your guests are novice oysterlovers you may destroy your lovely oysters by doing the Oyster Rockefeller. Ok, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Who cares when the sea is full of them. Put on some cheese and Pernod and slurp up them up.
Check out my Oyster Rockefeller recipe below.
It is important to recognize two different kinds of oysters in Europe. We have the European Flat Oyster and we have the intruder, the Pacific Oyster. Both is dependent on relatively hot waters at between 16-18 degrees to spawn during summer.
In northern Europe the invation of the Pacific Oyster is unwanted. And they are delicious. So harvest and eat as many as you can. The European Flat Oyster is endangered. Please leave them where they are.
Source: Institute of Marine Research
- Oysters, opened in shell with liquid
- Finely chopped spring onion
- Finely chopped garlic
- Finely chopped parsley
- Pernod (optional, but worth the effort)
I do mens recipes. A dash of this and a dash of that. I find that to express individual taste. How much of each defines your final product.
Chop herbs, spring onion and garlic as fine as possible. Melt a chunk of butter and toss in the greens before the butter turns brown. Let the greens get shiny in the butter. If you decide to go for the Pernod this is where you do it. Reduce the mix to half.
The Panko may be chopped in a mixer with more parsley and parmesan. But not a necessity.
Have the oysters on a salt covered tray to stabilize the oysters so their fluid stays inside. Put a generous tablespoon of buttermix on each and cover with a fine layer of panko-parmesan.
Leave it in the oven for about 10 min on 220 degrees celsius (425 F) or at 250 degrees (480 F) for 4 minutes.
All done. Enjoy!