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While oysters can be enjoyed raw, they are also easily incorporated in a variety of delicious dishes. This makes them an incredibly versatile ingredient in everything from Oysters Rockefeller to chowder. While easy to prepare, a simple mistake can turn a delicious dish into a rubbery mess.
Dispose of any open oysters. Any oysters that have already opened have likely been dead for a while and may carry unhealthy bacteria. Any oyster that is not well-sealed should be thrown away before you begin cooking.
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Using a scrub brush, clean the sealed oysters under cold water. Brushing will remove dirt and contaminants on the shell's surface. No soap is needed.
Open the oysters by either steaming or microwaving for 30 seconds. While oysters can be cooked by boiling straight in the shell, unsealing the shells before cooking will allow for a greater variety of preparation options.
Shuck the oysters using an oyster knife. Insert the knife near to the oyster's hinge, then leverage the top open. Be sure not to spill any of the oyster's liquor. Pull up the top, and sever the muscles at the shell's hinge. Removing the top shell is the proper step in preparing for baking, while removing the oysters entirely from their shell can be useful for making soups, frying, or other recipes into which oysters are incorporated.
Boil the oysters. Beginning with a rolling boil, leave oysters in the water for approximately three minutes. Once the edges begin to curl, quickly remove the oysters from the boiling water. Cooking oysters too long will produce an unpleasant rubbery flavor and texture.
Prepare a proper sauce. Popular oyster accompaniments can be as simple as a squeeze of lemon. Other popular options include melted butter with garlic, thyme or parsley. Oyster sauce can be made by combining oyster liquor, salt, soy sauce and ginger.
Smaller oysters are often more tender. Grated horseradish is a popular addition to oysters.
Make sure to remove open oysters. Always follow local regulations when gathering oysters from the wild.