One charmed fall weekend Jody and I were asked to judge the oyster shucking competition at the annual Wellfleet OysterFest. A free weekend in Wellfleet. Close proximity to more straight-from-the-ocean bivalves than I could ever reasonably consider eating. Bring it on. Watching pros shuck oysters inspires equal parts terror and admiration. The goal is to shuck a couple dozen oysters as fast as possible. Winning times are usually around two minutes – that is, an oyster every five seconds. Chipped shells, mangled oysters, debris and, oh yes, the occasional splash of blood, are all penalized. Everyone who competes professionally has a story about watching an inattentive shucker putting the the blade of an oyster knife through a palm or the base of a thumb. And that’s the rub, isn’t it? As someone who has shucked a fair number of oysters in his life, I still take a deep breath before I do it and I make damn sure I’m paying attention. Here’s a tasty alternative: Grilled Oysters with Wasabi Mayonnaise.
As a recent presidential candidate might have said, had he been a cook, which seems doubtful: Grilled oysters self-open.