I’m typing this column with two hands, which is the first clue that my inaugural oyster shucking experience didn’t end in carnage. In fact, it was quite the opposite, thanks to a handy little device that should be an essential in the drawer of any self-respecting West Coast oyster lover.
The Swissmar Shucker Paddy was designed by Patrick McMurray, a fellow Canadian and the current Guinness World Record holder for shucking 38 oysters in one minute. It may well have taken me 38 minutes to shuck one oyster had I not YouTubed the proper technique (written instructions only take me so far). The “ergodynamic”, revolver-style handle design of the Shucker Paddy makes the necessary twisting action a lot less awkward, and for a small-handed person, lent a reassuring feeling of control over the situation.
Though I’m ashamed to say I sort of butchered the poor things once I got the shells open (still getting the hang of separating the muscle from the shell without shredding the whole creature), I managed to present a dozen gleaming half-shells to my dining companion before the ice melted and the brut lost its bubble.
I made my own mignonette - another first - freely adapted from a recipe I found on Epicurious.com, with finely chopped shallots, white wine vinegar, sugar, sea salt and fresh basil with a healthy dose of cracked pepper. - Dee
(For more info on the Swissmar Shucker Paddy Universal Oyster Knife click here)