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How to Eat an Oyster

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How to Eat an Oyster
Oysters with Apple Mignonette with Whipped Celery Root | Photo courtesy of The Optimist

If you find yourself in Atlanta looking for a great plate of seafood, you need look no further than The Optimist. The Optimist is one of Chef Ford Fry’s 11 Atlanta restaurants and was named one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit magazine. At the helm of the kitchen at The Optimist is two-time semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef South, Chef Wesley True. Chef True is a native of Mobile, Alabama who has worked closely with Alabama Gulf Seafood. His love of seafood, Alabama and other, has full rein at The Optimist, whose menu includes a slew of seafood delicacies like Duck Fat Poached Swordfish and Cioppino with head-on Georgia shrimp, in addition to 11 different varieties of raw oysters at their well-appointed oyster bar.

Just in time for oyster season, Chef True shared some pointers with us for shucking an oyster, “I think it’s hard to teach someone how to open oysters unless you’re actually doing it together, but one tip I can always give is to use power: when you get the tip in the back of the oyster in that notch provided by nature, just jiggle it in a rocking motion and push pretty hard to break the top of the shell free. Then, back off and whip the knife out to help avoid getting shell in the oyster.”

Put your oyster shucking skills to work in Gulf Shores, Alabama November 6 and 7 at The Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend. 70 chefs, including Bill Smith, Ryan Prewitt, Elliott Moss and Wesley True, will compete for the title of “Best Oyster” while sipping beer from more than 20 craft breweries. If you plan on staying home, you can have a taste of Chef True’s cooking in the comfort of your own kitchen with his recipe for a delicious companion to freshly shucked oysters, Apple Mignonette with Whipped Celery Root. He explains the inspiration behind the dish: “I like whipped cream with oysters because the whipped cream with the celery root and a hint of salt enhances the sea flavor – plus, the fat content of the cream is just a perfect paring with seafood. Remember the classic drawn butter with shellfish? Well, this is an elevated, more modern version of that.”

 

Apple Mignonette with Whipped Celery Root
From Chef Wesley True of The Optimist in Atlanta, Georgia