Video Attempt: Oysters with Shallot Vinegar & Champagne

Friends, a few things to note about the above video attempt:
1. I swear again. I’m sorry. I am letting down my in-laws and Grandma. Going forward, I will work on this... I swear. (Pun!)
2. It was very hard to spend a morning of shucking oysters without periodically muttering “oyster smiling” as a non sequitur. If you don’t know the reference, do yourself a favor and watch this Paul Rudd / Tim and Eric video.
3. At last, Matthew makes not one, but TWO cameos! How about that?

Oysters with Shallot Vinegar adapted from John Pawson and Annie Bell's Living and Eating
a scant tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped chives
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6-12 oysters per person
tools: oyster knife, some manner of work glove, dish towel

Mix shallots, chives, and cider in a small bowl. Set aside.

Shuck oysters!

Here's the thing. I don't know how people shucked oysters for the first time before videos. I mean, I read Pawson and Bell's rather in-depth instructions to a T and feel as though I acquired more knowledge by watching this video. However, that guy in the video is an oyster-shucking champion and made it look way too easy. So, for those of you who have never shucked before, I really hope my video helps. I hope you can see that the real trick is in placing the oyster knife in the hinge area and, with pressure, twisting it up and down... up and down. At first, I was so worried about stabbing myself, but by the end, I realized I was placing too much emphasis on steady pressure and not enough on that leverage-gaining, twisting motion. As soon as the focus was on the twisting motion, I didn't think about gouging my palm as much. Once you're in there, make sure to scrape the top shell with the knife in order to free the oyster from where it has attached itself. And remember: the first one is the hardest. Once you get past that, you will be golden!

Also, once opened, the oyster should look opaque and wet, as if enjoying the soak in its own liquid. It should smell like the sea. I know that I was very afraid of a "bad oyster," but all of mine were great, which is another reason I went with Fanny Bay oysters (as I read online somewhere that you never find a bad Fanny Bay). Lastly, if this is your first time shucking, you are bound to get some shell fragments in the oyster. Just clear the ones you can see and try not to stress too much about the ones you find in your mouth later. At least, that's what I did.

Serve with the shallot vinegar and a glass of champagne, and enjoy!
Print Friendly and PDF


  1. This was such a great morning! (Oyster smiling)

  2. Your videos are always so fun to watch! I think I laughed out loud three times while watching this one. (and by the way, I vote for keeping up the swearing :)

  3. I think I could never eat oysters but it was really fun to watch your video!

  4. I live for these!! totally need a fancy Saturday with oysters and wine :)

    btw u and your hubby are so fun and I feel like I'm right there in the kitchn with u guys!! Love it
    - Jess

  5. oh my word, that was nerve-wracking! had to look away more than once as i feared things going very awry with that knife!

    dare i say, you were looking looked a little more coiffed than usual for this fancy affair! parfait x

  6. oh man this makes me have so many reactions i don't even know where to start.
    my mouth is WATERING for oysters and champagne.
    your apartment is adorbz.
    you are adorbz.
    matt is also adorbz, but does he always wear a baseball cap around the house?
    this video was AWESOME AND SO FUNNY!!
    I loved it. And yes, everyone deserves to feel fancy. It's like a human right.

  7. i liked the bald head island glassware

  8. I was about to yell, "Where's Matt's 2nd cameo?!" And then there it was. Great video!

  9. I seriously love you. Not in a creepy way or anything. But you are the cutest. Going out to buy me some oysters right meow!!


  10. thanks, guys!

    @Ms.Nožisková Why thank you for noticing! I did spend a few more minutes getting ready for this one. :)

    @Carmen SO glad you noticed! Matt cut out my line about the stemware so courteously given to us by the good folks of Bald Head Island.

    @natasha Internet LOVE right back at you!

  11. hahahahahaha! you are so cute! i loved it!! what a fancy life you have!

  12. that was a little scary with the knife! beautiful and hilarious video as always! I must enjoy oysters and champagne soon!

  13. you are such a fancy pants! i love the facial expressions you make as you try to pry open the oyster. hilarious. awesome vid, amelia!

    i had some great oysters from tomales bay a couple of weeks ago. best i've ever had. i downed them with vodka.


  14. Aw Shucks. A great video.

  15. Lady, I love this video. Let's have some oysters and champagne sometime soon. Can the SF crew lure you north with that? We'll even take you to Marin.

  16. oyster smiling -that video was so awesome as is yours. you are such an adorable fancy pants lady.

  17. Ameelz! You totally look hot in this vid. Also, the Bald Head champagne-wear cracked me up. I mean, of course you use the wedding flutes, right? Or do you have like 8 pairs of flutes in your home? Like me.

    Keep it up! Love the Matt cameo - wordless and so present!

  18. oyster smiling. HA.

    you are so adorable!

  19. Amelia, I could hardly believe my ears when you said "Fanny Bay"!

    Fanny Bay is on Vancouver Island, where I live. It's the tiniest little town on the east coast of the island -- I don't know if it even has a store. But I do know it has an inn. I know this because whenever we drove through Fanny Bay on the way to my grandparents' house, my dad would say, "It's the FBI!" Get it? Fanny Bay Inn! Somehow, I still find this hilarious.

    By the way, you're right, Vancouver is a beautiful city. But if you want to see something really beautiful, come to Vancouver Island!

  20. Let me tell you how many oysters I shucked at culinary school - and it gets easier. And a little faster. But it was tough going. In fact, pretty much every other type of cooking was easier (here, I wrote about it, if you are interested: Culinary School: The Cookbook http://amzn.to/r63N4N ). But keep at it. Oysters are worth it!

  21. Sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  22. From the lighting, to the music, commentary, and the very rare Matt cameo, these videos are delightful and I love them in every way!! Oyster smiling print!

  23. thanks again, friends!

    @stephanie: would LOVE nothing more than to go to Vancouver Island... we shall see. If i can work it out logistically, my mom and Grandma might take me along on their journey up north this spring. !!

  24. Yet another funny video! I watched this with my boyfriend, and it cracked us both up. Of course you start the morning with oysters and champagne!

  25. Amelia, let me know if you do come up! I live in Victoria, on the south end of Vancouver Island. I would love to have you, your mom and your grandma over for tea (which is a very Victoria thing to do). (:


I know that Blogger makes it difficult to comment and that you often have to re-type everything you just wrote, but I do really appreciate hearing from you guys! Thanks!