Famous for their association with Valentine’s Day due to the supposed aphrodisiac qualities, oysters are a highly-prized, but very affordable shellfish. Here at Ramus we supply several different types, either individually or as a delicious prepared platter, so why not give them a try?
Oysters are saltwater bi-valve molluscs with a rough, grey, oval shaped outer shell containing a creamy coloured meat set within the porcelain white, smooth inner shell. They are rich in protein and contain excellent levels of vitamins, minerals and zinc.
We mainly stock Cumbrae (pacific) and Fal (native) oysters but are looking at sourcing Colchester (native) and Lindisfarne (pacific), so do let us know if you are interested. The native or flat oysters are the indigenous species of UK / European oysters and are only available September to March whereas the Pacific / Rock oysters were introduced into the UK several centuries ago and are cultivated to provide a year round oyster.
Did you know?
- Oysters can change sex a few times during their lifetime.
- You are highly unlikely to find a pearl in an oyster as pearl oysters are a different breed from the edible variety.
Purists say that oysters should be enjoyed raw, maybe with lemon and pepper or, as we serve our oyster platters, with a little finely chopped shallot in red wine vinegar. Some people like a dash of Tabasco but the idea is to keep as much of the lovely salty juice as possible.
Cooking with Oysters:
Oysters are actually a very versatile meat and are delicious cooked in a variety of ways. They can be steamed open like mussels, topped then grilled, removed from the shell and added to sauces or deep fried in tempura batter. Try these delicious recipes from Fish is the Dish for Creamy Crunchy Oysters or Fiery Oysters with Tarragon Sauce if you want to impress your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Our team at Ramus will be happy to freshly shuck the oysters for you, ready to eat, but you may prefer to shuck your own at home. If you’re unsure how to do this, check out this video from BBC Good Food which gives you hints and tips on perfecting the job. All of the knives and equipment you need is available to buy in our Harrogate & Ilkley stores.
Different types of Oysters
Did you know there were so many different types? Here is a list, courtesy of The British Shellfish Association, to help you navigate the different tastes and textures of this highly-prized shellfish.
British oysters: a taster’s guide
Caledonian (Loch Creran)
Plump, silky and with a pleasant tang – the oysters served on ‘The Titanic’.
Bold and meaty in texture, these Hebridean oysters taste woody and nutty with a sugary finish.
Redolent of woods, these have a sharp and pointy aroma of salt and brine.
The sustainable beds produce some of the plumpest oysters with a flavour of citrus and nuts.
A neutral nose with a faint sense of sea-breeze and a distinct flavour of melon.
Silky, meaty, with an astringent aroma of sea salt and brine. Has an earthy base reminiscent of a forest floor.
One of only three oyster beds in Wales, their distinct salt and pepper flavour gives them a unique edge.
Taking 5 years to mature, these Cornish oysters are thought to have a superior flavour to their faster-growing counterparts.
Duchy Special (Helford)
Firm, plump, intense and with a body bursting with nutty flavours.
Frenchman’s Creek (Helford)
Firm and plump with a delicate nose suggestive of samphire and geranium; the finish that hints at tree bark.
Gathered using zero-carbon boats which don’t damage the beds, Fal oysters have a salty liquor and sweet flesh.
Flushed with the flavours of the Avon estuary, the fishermen of Bigbury Bay eat them with smoked bacon.
A light freshwater nose that belies strong flavour of cucumber and lettuce.
Mild in flavour with overtones of cut grass and walnut shell; a silky texture.
Oysters from the organic Dorset coast are rich in tones of pecan nut, avocado and cucumber.
A rich-bodied oyster with the flavour of salted butter and a stainless-steel finish.
Thin and delicate with a finish that builds to a lingering tang of stainless steel and ends with a prick of citrus fruit.
Meaty and chewy with a crisp metallic smack in the finish; it has a mild taste of cut grass with hints of walnut shell and driftwood.
Maldon (rock oyster)
Richly flavoured walnut and avocado oyster set off by a whiff of sea breeze; smooth and meaty texture.
A very distinct briny nose, then a complex flavour of salted butter followed by sweet cashew. A plump, firm and meaty texture.
From oysterbeds harvested since 1189, these oysters have a firm, creamy texture. It has a very clear flavour of salted butter.
Source: the British Shellfish Association