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How to buy
Although oysters have at least a one-week shelf life, I recommend buying them within 48 hours of when you plan to serve them. As a rule of thumb, it's best to purchase these members of the mollusk family from your region, but ask the expert at your local seafood counter to steer you toward what's fresh. Also, buy different types; tasting a few varieties side by side is a great way to experience the nuances that exist between species.
East versus west
Generally, East Coast oysters tend to be cleaner-tasting and less salty than West Coast varieties. My favourites from the east include Blue Point, Pemaquid and Montauk Pearls, while my picks from the west would be Kumamoto, Royal Miyagi and—my all-time fave—Kusshi (deep cup and not too salty).
How to store
The best method of storage is in the fridge on a rimmed tray covered with a moist towel. Do not lay them over ice. While it makes for , storing these fragile little guys on ice can potentially freeze and kill them.
How to eat
Raw is the most intimidating serving method for newbies, so try them fried or roasted for your first time out. Then, as you become accustomed to their texture and flavour, you can move on to raw oysters with less dominant condiments, such as a classic mignonette or a simple squeeze of lemon. Eventually, you'll advance to being brave enough to enjoy them au naturel right out of the shell—as nature made them.
The great aphrodisiac?
Although Casanova reportedly consumed 50 oysters at every breakfast, science has reported mixed results on their ability to induce friskiness. There is, however, something undeniably sexy about the hands-on approach required when savouring an oyster feast. They demand your attention. When food is that engaging, it's hard to deny its sexiness.
Put that knowledge to the test by making our Raw Oysters on the Half Shell recipe.