Yesterday we posted some information on the growing demands, as well as the growing variety in oysters. This time, we wanted to share with you everything that you need to know about oysters. From health facts and quality checks to shucking techniques and the perfect oyster parings, we have you covered! But first, lets just take a minute to remind you of an excellent OYSTER opportunity ahead!
The Euclid Fish Market will be featuring our new EFC Raw Bar every Saturday from 11-2 through the month of February! We will have great deals on a variety of east coast oysters, all fresh shucked to order and all with a very unique flavor profile! We will also have shucking demos, product demos and featured recipes throughout the day. We hope to see you there! And for those that do attend, please be sure to share your photos at home or in the store with #EFCshellfie.
Now, back to the facts:
“The impressive health benefits of oysters come from its vast stockpiles of minerals, vitamins and
organic compounds. In fact, certain mineral varieties are in their highest content in oysters, meaning that they are the premiere food item in the entire world for supplementation, particularly of zinc. The other components include very high levels of protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, copper,
manganese, and selenium. Oysters also contain high levels of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Finally, oysters are a huge source of beneficial cholesterol,
antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and water. These elements of oysters make them an extremely healthy food that can seriously boost your body’s overall function and health.”
- Boosts Immune System
- Beneficial for healing wounds
- Promotes blood circulation on body
- Helps to prevent Cardiovascular Disease
- Protects against osteoporosis and aids in increasing bone mineral density
- Aids in ensuring proper metabolic activity, tissue repair, cellular growth & muscle strength
For more information on the health benefits of Oysters, we suggest checking out Organic Facts
All oysters have their own individual flavor profile based on where they are grown, how they are grown and its climatic factors. However one thing remains consistent…. 95% of the oysters we eat are farmed and all cultivated in a highly sustainable way. Our oysters in house are all Best Choice on the Seafood Watch Sustainability Ratings.
For an awesome guide to flavor profiles, we suggest checking out The Oyster Guide.Types
There are many, many oysters throughout the world, however only very few species of oysters are harvested in the US for consumption. Atlantic / East Coast native (Crassostrea virginica), Pacific / West Coast non-native (Crassostrea gigas), European Native / Flat (Ostrea edulis), Olympia / West Coast native (Ostrea conchaphila) and Kumamoto (Crassostrea sikamea).
Great Things to Know When Ordering
East Coast vs. West Coast- what’s the difference? Different water & species result in different tastes. It is important to keep in mind that each and every oyster is different. East Coast oysters tend to be higher in salinity and in brininess, light-bodied, crisp and buttery in flavor while West Coast oysters tend to range in salinity and brininess, more medium-bodied with mineral flavors that are creamy and sweet.
Because there are so many varieties and flavor profiles, we recommend focusing on 4-6 oysters at a time and ordering two of each kind. By ordering two, you are able to get a better sense of flavor and while limiting it to 4-6 varieties, you are not overwhelming your palate. We also understand that it is fun to order oysters from coast to coast, however we recommend ordering from one region at a time,
especially when first trying them out!
Quality is Key
Believe us when we say, quality and freshness are one of the most important things when it comes to consuming raw oysters. It is important to know when your oysters were harvested. All shellfish will come with a tag, supplying you with the harvest date and location. Our 12 ct. bags in the store are all tagged with the information that we take and keep in a reporting system. Next, we suggest checking the oysters for their liquor. Your oysters should never look dried out as all fresh oysters are hydrated and filled with seawater.
(Side note- never rinse your oysters in tap water as this will ruin their delicious flavor.)
If you are unsure on how to shuck your oysters, we strongly suggest leaving it to someone who is experienced as it can be dangerous and can also ruin the oyster meat. When cleaning, all shell and grit will need to be removed as well as any bad or previously opened oysters that will need to be tossed.
As previously mentioned, we suggest watching and learning how to shuck an oyster before trying at home. We would be more than happy to show you how to do it here in the store! Once you get an idea on how to do so, please follow the tips below.
First and foremost, it is extremely important that you use the right tool. We recommend that you use a good quality oyster knife and a pair of heavy gloves or a towel to protect your hand.
Make sure you are on a hard, flat surface with your oyster knife in your dominate hand, and your towel/ glove on your other that is holding the oyster. There is a flat side and a cupped side on the oyster; make sure that you hold the oyster with the cup side down and in your hand to hold the liquor. It is important that you start at the hinge with the knife blade pointed down while applying light pressure and working back and forth. Eventually, you should get an opened slit in the oyster. Once the knife is secured in the slit, twist and torque the knife back and forth until the shell pops open.
Make sure that you are always protecting the meat, not puncturing or losing the liquor. Once popped, you will need to cut the abductor muscle by sliding the blade across the top shell, then removing it. Finally, slide your knife under the bottom abductor to loosen the meat from the shell.
For a step by step process with pictures, we suggest using an instructional sheet provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provided here
Like drinking wine or sampling cheese, tasting oysters are very similar in the sense that you are exploring the different hint of flavors and textures, appreciating the way in which they were grown and where they came from.
For the optimal oyster experience, it all comes down to your senses... literally!
So what to do first? Well, you see it! Feast with your eyes. Compare the size, shape, coloring and body of the meat. Next, smell the oyster. Compare the brininess of the sea, the sweetness of the liquor and the different aromas from each oyster.
After smelling, we suggest sipping the liquor to get a feel for the flavor and a sense of salinity is best before slurping! And last but certainly not least, gently sway the meat of the oyster back and forth in the shell to loosen it up. Once loosened, move the oyster to your lips, tilt it back and slurp it down! For those of you who want the full flavor, chew it a few times before swallowing.
You should notice a whole array of flavors from salty to sweet and finishing with its abundant unique flavor.
Additional Flavors and Pairings
Some people enjoy their oysters raw with no toppings to experience the raw and true flavors of the sea. Although we suggest trying this at least once, we know that some people may struggle with it at first. Adding some accoutrements to your oyster meat can add a great element of flavor, as long as it is done in moderation. Using too much added toppings will ruin the meat of the oyster and the flavors of nature’s bounty. There are many options to add, some of which are listed here. For the lighter flavors, we suggest using just a squirt of a lemon, a pinch of fresh ground black pepper or a red wine vinaigrette and shallot mignonette. For those that want a little more of a kick; horseradish, tabasco hot sauce or cocktail sauce are great as well.
When pairing oysters with wines, beers and liquors… it really is pretty simple. Oysters go with just about anything so pair it with something that you truly enjoy! As a general rule for wines, try to match the acidity of the wine to the brininess of the oyster. Usually the best pairings are with crisp, dry white wines. When pairing oysters with beer…. Well let’s just say any beer is a PERFECT pair. From light lagers to dark stouts and IPA’s, you really can’t go wrong!
Although any liquor drinks are great, most suggest that clean, palate cleansers are the best. Martini’s and whiskey fall under this category. If those are not your style, no worries. Drinks with bitters tend to pair very well as the balance of a bitter and the salt from an oyster are great. Also, any citrus flavors pair well with seafood so stick with something light to pair with the flavor of the sea. A lot of west coasts oysters tend to have a cucumber like finish, so how about a gin and tonic with cucumbers? Really, anything you chose is the best way to take advantage of a sea to land experience if desired.
For additional information, please feel free to stop in the market or call us at 440.951.6448!
The Euclid Fish Company