I am not really a purist when it comes to shucking oysters. As many of you who have seen my how-to shucking video (which if you haven't seen it, is here) know already, I can pretty much take my "essentials" anywhere- a knife, a glove, a board, a rag and some oysters. The only thing I've ever really been picky about is the knife- which I prefer to be a hinge knife.
However, thanks to a local company, Wye River Provisioners, that might change. They sent me a little package over the holidays, and inside was a glove, a knife, and a pretty little shucking board- the perfect oyster shucking kit.
Once I had unpacked everything from its tidy little bag, it gathered a little dust over the holidays while I ate oysters pretty much everywhere but home. However, around the time I got back from France I found I had a real hankering for local oysters- plus I had my fancy new oyster knives from Paris to test. So, while I was at it, I tried out my new shucking kit.
Friends, my normal shucking block is a piece of driftwood I picked up at Eastern Neck Island. It is not fancy. This shucking board was on a whole new level. It is canted to raise the oyster up for a better shucking angle, the wood is beautifully grained and dove-tail joined, and there's even an oyster-shaped divot in the middle. Compared to my driftwood board, it is seriously cadillac.
The result? A prettily-shucked oyster, and a nice presentation- especially since the board wasn't dripping oyster liquor all over the place.
All in all, I have to give Wye River Provisioners props for seriously elevating a normally-overlooked oyster essential. Plus, the business was started by two St. Mary's College of Maryland grads, from a shop in Queenstown on Maryland's Eastern Shore, so it means you can shop local (or at least, know what you're getting is the real Chesapeake deal).