According to an old saying, oysters can be consumed only in months whose names end in the letter r. Lucky for us, modern transportation and production bring us this ocean beauty year round. Silky and tasting of the sea, oysters are a true delectable.
Whether consumed au naturel, grilled, or even fried, the oyster offers lip-smacking satisfaction. Four of the 10 species of oysters are found along the shores of North America. Galveston Bay in Texas produces a plentiful supply that satisfies the urban cowboy palate. Because the Gulf waters stay quite warm, Gulf oysters never go dormant and therefore have no need to store up on glycogen food supply. This means that Gulf oysters don’t change in flavor throughout the year, but remain mild and soft.
In true southern style, they relax on the half shell. Tips: Oysters must be perfectly fresh, with the shells firmly closed. If you buy them without shells, the liquid should be clear. If the natural juice has a milky color, do not use the oysters. Because oysters should have their liquid intact, they should be stored cup side down. If they lie on their flat side, the liquid will leak out, causing the oyster to dry out and become inedible.
No aroma should be present. Decline oysters with any odor. Once at home, place the living oysters on a sheet pan and cover them with a wet towel to provide moisture.
How to shuck an oyster:
- Hold oyster firmly with hinge part of the shell in palm of hand.
- Push the blade of a thick oyster knife between the shells near the hinge.
- Run the knife around the shell until you can cut the muscle that holds the valve together.
Grilled Oysters Texas Style
- 2 dozen fresh oysters, scrubbed and unopened
- 1 cup champagne vinegar ¼ cup shallots, finely diced
- ⅓ cup high quality tequila
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. jalapeno, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp. red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 tsp. sugar ¼ tsp. cumin
- 1 Tbsp. cilantro leaves
- chopped Salt and pepper to taste
- Cojita cheese
Step 1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for the cojita cheese and oysters.
Step 2. Place unopened oysters directly onto a hot grill. Cook until they have opened their shells, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 3. Spoon about ½ Tbsp. of the tequila lime mixture over the oysters and allow to cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the shells are completely open.
Step 4. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with crumbled cojita cheese.