Other names: coffin bay oyster, Japanese oyster, Tasmanian oyster
Marine and estuarine bivalve that lives on sheltered rocky shores
Introduced from Japan to Tasmania in the 1940s
Also grown in NSW and SA
Available all year around, especially in April – September
Average weight – 15g
7-9cm shell width
Buying: Generally sold by the dozen or half-dozen, already shucked (opened). Look for lustrous, plump, moist flesh with a pleasant fresh sea smell. Unshucked Oysters should be closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed.
Storing: Shucked Oysters are best eaten on the day they’re purchased. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but will taste best cooked if not eaten within 24 hours, and can be frozen for up to 3 months, below -18ºC, and used in soups or sauces. Live molluscs should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with damp paper or cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the crisper (optimum 5ºC), ensuring that the covering remains damp.
There are various ways of opening an Oyster, Australians tend to open from the lip end, whereas Americans go in through the hinge, and the French sometimes from the side. Professionally opened Oysters are usually washed and flipped over for a better presentation. If you aren’t opening your own Oysters, try to buy them unwashed with all their natural flavour, as the only reason for washing is that customers may complain about a piece of shell grit in their Oyster. Oysters can also be opened by cooking them on a BBQ or in a steamer.
Cooking: Average yield is 20-40% from half shell. Has a rich, iodiney flavour, low - medium oiliness and moist, soft, creamy flesh when raw, turning browny-grey when cooked. If not consumed raw, they require very little cooking, either a quick dip in hot oil (usually with a coating) or a very gentle warm through; stop cooking as soon as the edges of the meat start to curl, as overcooked they will be tough and tasteless. Larger specimens are often better served cooked.
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle.
Bacon, breadcrumbs, cream, eggs, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemon, lime, mirin, pepper, soy, Tabasco, tomato, wasabi, Worcestershire sauce.
Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters
These shots are fun to serve before dinner or for a cocktail party. To turn them into an entrée, serve 6 Oysters with a shot of Bloody Mary for each person.
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
10 drops Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 litre tomato juice
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
24 freshly-shucked Oysters
Combine vodka, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lemon juice and tomato juice, season well with salt and pepper and chill until very cold.
Pour into shot glasses. Drop an oyster into each one and serve immediately.
Notes: For an entrée, serve a shot of Bloody Mary with 6 Oysters per person.