SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – On National Oyster Day (August 5) The Daily Dish called in the Utah experts on Oysters – Market Street Grill & Oyster Bar – to get to the fish on the tasty treats from the sea. We discovered that not all oysters are created equally or in otherwords, not all oysters are the same. There are subtle differences in oysters based on the terroir (or location) of where they are farmed or grow. Each has it own look, flavor and style.

There are actually more than 200 species of oysters spread throughout the world. However, only a handful are commercially grown and harvested for consumption in the United States.

Market Street Grill and Oyster Bar offers fresh Blue Point and Select Northwest Oysters on their menu at its three locations in the Salt Lake Valley – Cottonwood, South Jordan and Downtown Salt Lake City.

Care should be taken when consuming oysters. Purists insist on eating them raw, with no dressing save perhaps lemon juice, vinegar (most commonly shallot vinegar), or cocktail sauce. Upscale restaurants pair raw oysters with mignonette sauce, which consists primarily of fresh chopped shallot, mixed peppercorn, dry white wine and lemon juice or sherry vinegar. Like fine wine, raw oysters have complex flavors that vary greatly among varieties and regions: salty, briny, buttery, metallic, or even fruity. The texture is soft and fleshy, but crisp on the palate.

Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12.

Opening oysters, referred to as “oyster-shucking”, requires skill. The preferred method is to use a special knife (called an oyster knife, a variant of a shucking knife), with a short and thick blade about 2 inches long.

While different methods are used to open an oyster (which sometimes depend on the type), the following is one commonly accepted oyster-shucking method.

  • Insert the blade, with moderate force and vibration if necessary, at the hinge between the two valves.
  • Twist the blade until there is a slight pop.
  • Slide the blade upward to cut the adductor muscle which holds the shell closed.

Inexperienced shuckers can apply too much force, which can result in injury if the blade slips. Heavy gloves, sometimes sold as oyster gloves, are recommended; apart from the knife, the shell itself can be razor-sharp. Professional shuckers require fewer than three seconds to open the shell.

If the oyster has a particularly soft shell, the knife can be inserted instead in the “sidedoor”, about halfway along one side where the oyster lips widen with a slight indentation.

Visit a Market Street Grill and Oyster Bar near you today and enjoy some fresh Oysters!