Shuck, Suck & Be Merry – How to add oysters to your Christmas menu
It’s that festive time of year again when we get together with friends and loved ones over Christmas Lunch. Now, Christmas in Byron Bay does not traditionally include snow angels, eggnog, sled rides or a fireplace. Christmas Day in the bay usually includes surf, sand, ice cold beers and market fresh seafood. If that sounds like your kind of Christmas day, we still have limited tables available for our Christmas Lunch featuring our premium seafood platter.
Now whether you’re joining us for the festivities or celebrating at home, I’m sure you’ll agree that one item that should be on every Aussie Christmas Lunch Menu is fresh oysters. Unfortunately there are more people who love to eat oysters than people who know how to prepare them at home. We’re hoping to change all that with a few simple tips and tricks on how to pick them, shuck them and serve them.
How to pick them
In Australia we grow three kinds of oysters: Sydney Rock, Pacific and Angasi (the flat native). The first two will be familiar to most oyster enthusiasts, served in restaurants and markets across the country. Grown in plastic trays or baskets in oyster leases in pristine Aussie waters, these molluscs are typically raised for 2-4 years before being harvested for eating. Rock and pacific oysters can be purchased from your local fish market but we highly suggest you pre-order these babies as they can often sell out in the lead up to Christmas. Unopened rock oysters can keep for 2-3 weeks at 14-18ºC.
Pacific Oysters are best kept in the coolest part of the fridge at around 5-8ºC, in the crisper. Depending on the environment you’re serving them in, oysters are best served at ambient temperature, on rock salt as opposed to prolonged on ice. However you can put them under ice for 20 minutes which makes them easier to shuck and takes the edge off the top notes of oyster.
How to shuck them
Quite simply, hold with the ‘ear’ facing out, positioned safely in tea towel, insert knife or oyster shucker at 15 degrees, wiggle the blade into the hinge until the lid pops open, then slide knife to a 2 o’clock position and twist. Cut the muscle from the lid and the shell and serve ‘belly up’.
How to serve them
Our executive chef Sean Connolly is the biggest oyster enthusiast we know and he always loves to serve his oyster with fresh lemon and a simple mignonette.
1/2 ecshallot finely chopped
100ml quality red wine vinegar (we use Forvm Cabarent Sauvignon)
Sean also enjoys a dash of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar or even a thin slice of chilli for a bit of extra kick. For more ideas on how to serve your oysters read Sean’s Top Oyster Recipes. No oyster feast is complete without a glass of quality champagne in your hand, so be sure to grab a glass of Piper Heidsiek to chase those salty high notes.
Shucking good gifts
If you are chasing the perfect gift for the oyster lover in your life, we have Oyster Shuckers on sale at Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. Or you could purchase your mollusc marveling friend a gift voucher to enjoy oysters and champagne on our iconic balcony next time they’re in town. Call us on (02) 66 809 666 to purchase a gift card over the phone or visit us in venue anytime. We have $1 oysters available from 5pm-6pm every Wednesday so if you love oysters book now so you don’t miss out.
Be sure to show us your Christmas oyster pics on socials by tagging @balconybyronbay.