If oysters aren’t on your list of favorite fall ingredients, they should be. Thanks to Ozarks Premier Food Company, which keeps southwest Missouri restaurants including Char stocked with fresh oysters from around the world, you too can fill your fridge. In fact, you can buy oysters by the dozen from Jeremy Norris at Char.
These water-loving creatures thrive in cold water, so the cooler the temperature, the better the flavor. First, Norris says to know what flavor you like best. Salty, briny and massive oysters that are great for frying come from the Gulf Coast. If you want a cleaner, sweeter and creamier flavor, Norris suggests selecting Purple Mountain oysters from Washington or kumamoto oysters from Japan. “A good oyster will have a lot of brine inside the shell,” Norris says. “It will also be difficult to open.” If an oyster is easy to crack open, the muscle inside is probably dead and shouldn’t be eaten.
Once you have your oysters, clean the shells in the sink with a bristle brush, cover them with a wet paper towel and store them in the fridge for up to three days. Once you’re ready to eat, Norris recommends cracking them open and running the oysters through a cold salt water bath to wash out any sand. Then take a shucker and run it under the oyster to release it from the shell. Add a dash of hot sauce and a squirt of lemon, and voila! Your new favorite fall flavor is ready.