There is nothing I love more than Blue Point Oysters. Last week while I was marking time waiting for some lamps to be fixed, I stopped at Whole Foods. This store is a pain in the neck for me to visit as it is far off the beaten path. Much to my surprise it was smack across the street from the lamp store and I had two hours to kill. Good news and bad news, for this is a place where I can really get in trouble.
After loading my cart to half full and then unloading three quarters of it (after a serious talk with myself) I decided to revisit the fish counter where I had talked myself out of buying the oysters at least three times. To begin with they would not shuck them, so I had to do it myself. Secondly I had a long drive which was a major concern. But I wanted those oysters really, really bad.
While I was in NYC last month I had dinner with my friends Reggie D. and Boy F. and we had the most delightful East Coast oysters I have had in a long time. They were cold and fresh, as if they had just come out of the sea. A memory like that stays with you for a long time, specially if you are an oyster aficionado like me. One of the things I miss the most in this part of Georgia is fresh fish and shellfish, particularly lobster and oysters. When I see them so close and yet so far because I don't know how to shuck them, it can be a major problem. And these were Blue Points no less, the cat's meow as far as I am concerned.
Now, don't let people talk you into ordering or buying the wrong thing. The term Blue Point is often used loosely for oysters from the North Atlantic. True bluepoints are raised in Long Island's Great South Bay where they were first found. There are others from the same genus, such as "New Jersey bluepoints" and "Virginia bluepoints", but they are not the real Blue Points, although I'm sure they'll do in a pinch.
Luckily I had a really nice fellow at WF who took pity on me and showed me how to shuck the oysters with a special little knife they sell there. Okay, I can do this. If I can make a souffle I can shuck an oyster; and you know what, I did it!!!
I encourage you to try it i only for the thrill of saying you have. Think of all the money you'll save by purchasing them at the fish monger and serving them at home. Can you imagine the face on your guests when you tell them you shucked then yourself!. It really is a cinch, if you have the right tool. Slide it where you see a little opening, usually towards the back, wiggle it until you get traction and pop! Here's a video. I did not have those fancy gloves, just my little oyster knife which I got a Whole Foods for $5 and a towel. Hold them like he shows you so you won't loose the juice like I did.
The guys packed them in ice for the ride home and I put them in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Make sure you keep them very cold or they will start to open up. You don't want that.
The rest, as they say, is history. I served them, to myself, on crushed ice with some lemon and cocktail sauce. That's how I like them. I have never been able to eat them with a mignonette sauce. I go into convulsions when the vinegar hits my nose, which can be quite embarrasing when you are in a nice restaurant. Can you imagine if that had happened while dining with Reggie D? Even though he is on hiatus, I am sure a post would be forthcoming on how to keep your cool while your guest is chocking on mignonette sauce.
Never pass up doing something you really want to do just because you don't know how. Learn and try it, if only for the experience. You would be surprised at what you can do if you just put your mind to it.
Oyster knife Google