One day, a very long old time ago, a precocious prehistoric person smashed open an oyster shell and slurped up its slippery meat. And just like that, an age-spanning love affair was born. We humans cant get enough of these delicately flavored sea creatures, and its always been that way. Oyster farming dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, after all. And to this day, a plate of ice-packed freshieswashed down with some carefully paired Champagnestarts off many a celebration; its an edible signal that the occasion is an important one and thus calls for the greatest consumable combo on the planet.
But as with all earthly delights, theres a yin to this gustatory yang. Think of oysters as the bivalve equivalent of the little girl in Longfellows poemwhen they are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, they are horrid. But if fear of a bad one has kept your bivalve yen at bay, well, then this is your lucky day. Because when you know what to look for, you are almost guaranteed to avoid any half-shell horrors. To that end, we have enlisted Marco Pinchota true mollusk masterto show you everything you need to know about picking the best, every time. Hes an expert on sustainability at Taylor Shellfish Farms, the world-renowned shellfish cultivator based in Washington State.
And Pinchots lessons are not the sole purview of hardcore foraging typesthese tips will come in handy whether youre perched at the raw bar, shopping at the farmers market, or dragging a shovel along a rocky stretch of Puget Sound sand. So go ahead and school yourself on all things oysteryour newfound knowledge is sure to pay off over a lifetime of superior slurping.
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