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Test Kitchen video tip: Shucking an oyster

February 19, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Roasted oysters with chipotle butter.
Roasted oysters with chipotle butter. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles…)

If you've never opened an oyster before, the thought of shucking one might be a bit intimidating. Although the process doesn't take a lot of brawn, shucking an oyster does take care and know-how. And an oyster knife. 

Check out the video above for a quick tutorial of the following steps:

1. Use a folded towel to hold the oyster and protect your hand. Place the tip of an oyster knife into the hinge end of the oyster and gently twist the knife to break the hinge, opening the oyster.

2. Gently push the knife sideways halfway into the oyster. Twist again to open without spilling the oyster liquor (the liquid in the shell with the oyster). 

3. Carefully loosen the oyster from the bottom muscle, using a spoon or the tip of the oyster knife, but leave it in its half shell. Set aside on ice.

Oyster knives are available at gourmet and kitchen supply stores, and typically run about $10. Look for a knife that has a non-slip handle and a guard (the oval or round piece of metal separating the blade from the handle) to protect your hand from slipping.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at


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Roasted oysters with chipotle butter

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

6 tablespoons butter

3 teaspoons coarsely chopped garlic

2 to 5 canned chipotle peppers plus 1 1/2 tablespoons adobo (liquid reserved from the can)

4 cups rock salt

2 dozen oysters

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter in a small skillet. In a blender, purée the garlic, 2 chipotles and the adobo until smooth. With the blender running, add the butter. Taste the butter and blend in additional chipotles if desired. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Spread the rock salt in the bottom of a jellyroll pan. Place the oysters, cup-side down, on the rock salt. Roast until the oysters begin to open, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove the oysters from the oven and open them, separating the muscle at the top and the bottom and discarding the flat top shell. Spoon about one-half teaspoon of the chipotle butter mixture onto each oyster and then return them to the oven until the butter melts and the oyster plumps and firms, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 102 calories; 2 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 9 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 33 mg. cholesterol; 84 mg. sodium.

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