Fresh oysters

There is evidence to suggest that humans have been eating oysters in the Hebrides for thousands of years. Here is the most simple recipe – shucked and eaten as they are.


  • Fresh oysters
  • A lemon
  • Sauces (optional)

You will also need a little bit of equipment.

Get yourself a shucking knife (above), a tea-towel and a solid surface to work on. Have a plate nearby to place the opened oysters onto as well.

Wrap the towel around the oyster to hold it still. Have the flat side of the oyster shell facing upwards.

Use the shucking knife in the other hand and insert it into a gap between the two shells near the hinge of the oyster. Press it in carefully but firmly until you feel the faint ‘pop’ of the hinge tendon being severed.

Be careful!

Slowly prize open the shell and use the knife to cut and scrape the oyster flesh away from the top, flat shell, allowing it to collect with the brine in the cup-shaped lower shell. Remove the flat shell completely and discard.

At this stage, you might want to discard a little of the seawater, just to make it a little less briny, but it is up to you.

Next, use the shucking knife to upturn the flesh of the oyster. Make sure the flesh is not attached to the shell at any point or it can make it a bit messy when it’s time to eat.

Repeat the process for all the oysters, laying them on a plate when each one is ready.

If you have crushed ice to hand you could put this on the plate and place the oysters on top to keep them cool and upright.

You could also add garnishes and sauces, such as vinaigrette, mignonette and good old tabasco.

You could also add bread and butter to make it more substantial.

However, if you’re a purist, a couple of lemon wedges should be enough.


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