So. Many. Oysters.
December 9, 2017 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Due to a Christmas Gifting Mishap that affected my extended family, I have 50 small fresh oysters in my fridge right now. What should I do with them?

They were delivered via Fed Ex yesterday and have been refrigerated since then. Cold packs are still in there and still very very cold. I went vegetarian when I was 14, remained one for more than 20 years, and have only reintroduced fish into my life in the last 2 years and hadn’t gotten around to trying oysters yet, so I am pretty sure I have never eaten an oyster in my life.

1) how long do I have to deal wth much of an oyster emergency is this?

2) what do I do with them?
posted by charmedimsure to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You crack em open, squirt a lemon on them, get yourself some cocktail sauce, some vinegar and some
horseradish AND YOU EAT THEM tonight or tomorrow. Raw. On the half shell. With a nice bottle of white wine and a good looking partner in crime. Voila.
posted by pinkacademic at 7:22 PM on December 9, 2017 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Here's a nice oyster stew recipe. As much as I like oysters on the half-shell, if I had that many I'd cook em up like this.
posted by briank at 7:31 PM on December 9, 2017

Best answer: This is the best mishap ever! I wish I could assist you with this issue in person! 50 small ones isn't really so many that it will be a problem. (Mrs Gotanda and I would regularly get 50 and just chow down and poof! they would be gone!)

But, oysters don't agree with everyone. If you've never tried one you might be an oyster person or maybe not. So, invite over a couple of friends and make sure at least one of them is a confirmed oysterphile. Also, you will need that person because shucking oysters takes a certain knack and it can take practice to develop the skills--like 50 oysters worth of practice. Badly shucked oysters can result in a lot of shell debris in your oyster and then in your mouth. Not dangerous, but not as amazing as they can possibly be.

Raw or grilled have a good baguette or other good bread handy to soak up all the good juices.

Get crushed ice on a platter: horseradish, tabasco, and lemon as garnishes. If you want to do it up in style champagne mignonette sauce.

Do a first round and shuck 4 or so per person and see how you like them raw.

If you don't want to deal with raw or shucking. Spread them out on a tray in an oven. The shells will pop open all on their own a bit once they cook partway. Keep an eye out for that. Once they open stuff in pats of butter, spoon in bbq sauce, add soy sauce, or a mix (butter and bbq or butter and soy) or just let them cook in heir own excellent juices. I do a variety. Cook for a while longer. Or if you are in the right climate do that over a charcoal grill outdoors. Just youtube how to grill oysters and you are good to go.

posted by Gotanda at 7:32 PM on December 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

If you’re an oyster amateur I’d start with baked oysters. This recipe sounds a whole lot like escargot which is a great intro. Maybe eat the back half raw.

On preview, mostly jinx
posted by supercres at 7:33 PM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sorry, three more things. 1) I've been to Taylor Shellfish Farm. You have good oysters and good family members. 2) Maybe goes without saying but if you try shucking some--and you should give it a whirl, some people just take to it naturally--make sure you are wearing a sturdy work glove on your holding hand, please. 3) Doing it outdoors is really good because less mess to clean up and less smell in your home. Drive to the beach and grab a cooler of drinks if that is climate appropriate. Mmmm, tasty, tasty oysters.
posted by Gotanda at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love raw oysters but despite being a lifelong shellfish devotee I do not have the knack for opening oysters. I would say the best combination of easy and flexible would be to steam them. Rinse and give the shells a good scrubbing (like you might a potato), then put in a large pot with some water that's about as salty as sea water that you've brought to a simmer. It doesn't have to be much water, a couple inches. If you have a steamer basket insert thingy you can use that but you don't need to. Cover and let the oysters steam for about five minutes. Take them out with tongs and reserve the steaming liquid, which will have caught the oyster brine when they opened and will be an awesome base for a sauce or soup. If any of the oysters haven't opened, discard them. The opened ones should be easy to pry apart and get the oyster inside.

Taste one plain to see if you dig it! If you don't, you might like them baked into stuffing (there are tons of recipes for oyster stuffing, I like the cornbread dressing variety), or fried on a po boy. They can be added to a chowder or other combination seafood dish, too, like a cioppino.

If you do like it simple, make some dipping sauces. Take your steaming liquid and reduce it, add some shallots and white wine and pop your oysters back in. Put in a generous amount of butter and let things mingle until melted. Eat with crusty bread. Or do a classic mignonette sauce with wine vinegar, shallot and pepper, but mix it with a little mayo for a creamy sauce you can more easily eat with a steamed shucked oyster. Just some lemon juice is going to be great too, but you can do a lemon aioli to make it special. You could also marinate them in some alcohol and citrus for a bit and eat them cold like ceviche (sake and yuzuu oysters with a tiny drizzle of tamari? rum and lime oysters with some plantain chips?). Oysters go with a lot of things, so whatever your favorite flavor combinations, try it with oysters and see if you like it.
posted by Mizu at 8:08 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oysters live outside the water for 2 to 3 weeks. Your oysters have been harvested in the last 2 to 3 days, so this is the PERFECT time to eat them.

Youtube for shucking directions. Please do not use a screw driver, use a proper shucking knife ($10-ish.) Please protect your hand w/ a towel.

Basic shucking: Cup side down, flatter shell on top (look at the oyster to see which is which.) You go in at the hinge (check a video, it's the pointy end, not the rounded end,) give your wrist a twist to pop the shell, scrape your knife angled along the top of the shell to release the upper muscle, gently lift off the top. The oyster is now opened, but you're not yet done! To perform the "presentation flip" angle the knife under the oyster and release that muscle from the bottom shell, flip the oyster to the pretty side. EAT IT!!

I'll share a little secret, oysters have the nervous system of a plant and some folks consider them vegan. They behave much differently than mussels or clams, I buy this argument.

What else? They should be difficult to open and smell like the sea. If they are easy to open or smell bad, discard. Taylor probably didn't send you any stinkers, so no worries! Enjoy!
posted by jbenben at 8:16 PM on December 9, 2017

The best oyster I ever had was topped with a little bit of seaweed salad, a raw quails egg, ponzu sauce, and osetra caviar. FWIW.
posted by jbenben at 9:59 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Drive to the beach and grab a cooler of drinks if that is climate appropriate.

Ha! We can see the ocean from our house....but said house is in Alaska so: not *quite* beach weather right now.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:09 PM on December 9, 2017 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Make oyster po' boys.

After you shuck them, let them drain. Batter them like you would if you were making fried shrimp or fried chicken strips, with flour, beaten egg, bread crumbs or cornmeal.

Let them cook for a minute or two in a pan with a 1/2 inch to an inch of hot oil. Drain on a cooling rack or on something that allows air circulation so they don't get soggy.

Split a loaf of French bread and prepare with mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, pickle slices, and tomato. Pile on the fried oysters. Shake on some Tabasco if you want.

Small oysters are good for po' boys and, since you aren't used to oysters, eating them fried may help them seem less alien to you.
posted by Leontine at 10:22 PM on December 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

You should chargrill them.
posted by artychoke at 10:32 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Scalloped oysters.
posted by gregoreo at 2:11 AM on December 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Re opening: I’ve recently discovered that a chisel, like a wood chisel, makes opening oysters a hundred times easier. You can pry them open with the sharp point and a twist, then insert a oyster knife or butter knife to disconnect the oyster from the shell. I was awful at opening oysters until this discovery.

I love oysters but I’m not sure I’d be up for diy the first time out...I think you need a wise guide who can prepare you emotionally for the sight of a raw oyster coupled with the notion of eating it. As if you were about to take LSD. Oysters are great but the are also weird.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:05 AM on December 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Eat 'em raw. Don't start by drowning them in cocktail sauce or even lemon. Try one or two just as is. I'm convinced many people are ambivalent about oysters and protect themselves by making sure they taste like something else. But they are subtle and wonderful things on their own and you should find out first whether you like it.

Share them with a friend who knows how to shuck.
posted by zadcat at 6:38 AM on December 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

sriracha and tobiko on raw oysters is also DELISH!!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 12:28 PM on December 10, 2017

Invite half a dozen friends over tonight. Ask each of them to bring a bottle of dry white wine. Learn how to make a mignonette. Enjoy.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2017

My favorite shucking implement is a can opener like this. Work gloves for both hands is best for beginners.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:43 PM on December 12, 2017

Response by poster: Okay! They were harvested on the 6th, we found out.

Round 1: raw, on the half shell after watching YouTube shucking instructions. Turns out I am a squeamish child, so they didn't really work for me. My husband ate and loved all that we shucked. We are not great at shucking and many swears were said.

Round 2: baked, then topped with a butter sauce or satsuma cilantro mignonette. Delicious. Many fewer swears shucking the baked ones.

Round 3 will be oyster stew tonight or po boys tonight- dealer's choice and I am not the dealer.

Thanks for the help!
posted by charmedimsure at 4:08 PM on December 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

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