The anatomy of an oyster:
The flat side is the cover, the convex side the bottom.
The round end is the front; on the peaked end (back) is the hinge.
The oyster uses a muscle to open and close its cover – that´s the power you have to overcome when opening the oyster. You find the muscle about 2/3 from back to front and 1/3 from right to left.
How to open an oyster:
Open with intelligence – not with force!
Therefore it is best to look for the shortest way to the muscle!
- Set your oyster knife between cover and bottom. When you don´t find the spot immediately, scratch away some material from the shell. So you see the spot better.
- Start to wield the knife with screwing movements (without force!) between cover and bottom. Note to guide the blade with your fingers!
- If the blade is inside the oyster, insert it until you reach the muscle. Cut it – now you can easily raise the cover.
- Look into the oyster from the side and cut the upper muscle carefully. Now you can remove the cover completely.
- Remove any splinters you see.
- Control if the oyster lives: With your knife draw gently the outline of the flesh. The oyster should twitch – a sign that it is mercurial.
- Now cut the lower muscle (on the right border), that the flesh is lying loose in the shell.
- Be careful not to lose the precious water. If you already did: The oyster keeps producing it – put some lemon juice on it and leave it for some minutes on ice.
- Serve it pure, with lemon, pepper, Tabasco, parsley or shallots – as you like.
Important: Hold the knife correct! Only if you hold it correct you can prevent bad injuries von hand and fingers. Never hold the knife back at the grip! Hold it in the front, guiding the blade with your thumb (like on the right picture).
Tip: The method described here is safer. A possible disadvantage is that splinters get into the oyster easier and sometimes the bottom shell breaks. Another method is to force the knife into the oyster at the hinge. We don´t recommend this, because the danger of injuries is much higher! Moreover, like this you have to use force against the muscle power of the oyster (which can be actually quite remarkable) and the knife can break when inserting.