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How To Cook Oysters From A Jar

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Cooking with canned or jarred foods is an affordable way to access what may otherwise be more premium and costly ingredients. Oysters are no exception and the canned or jarred varieties can be used in creative ways in the kitchen. 

Oysters from a jar are a versatile kitchen ingredient and can be used in all kinds of preparations. Before you try the cooking methods below, you will want to make sure you read the label on your jar. 

Some companies will suggest rinsing their product before use, while other, more premium brands, might pack their oysters in a kind of “liquor”.

This liquor is the salty natural juice that is found inside a live oyster that provides a ton of flavor, so if your jars have the liquor you won’t want to rinse them. 

So, how do you cook oysters from a jar? The best method for cooking oysters from a jar is by breading them and frying over medium heat in neutral oil. You can also try adding them to chowders or soups, saute them in butter and herbs, or bake them with cream and seasonings. 

Read on to discover the difference between fresh and jarred oysters and the best way to cook oysters from a jar. 

What’s The Difference Between Fresh And Jarred Oysters?

While fresh shucked oysters can be enjoyed raw right out of the shell, it is often recommended that you cook oysters from a jar to err on the side of caution.

Most jarred oyster brands do recommend rinsing and cooking your oysters for best results

Oysters in the jar are not often packed in their own liquor (the liquid that is found inside the oyster shell when fresh), so they may have a less briney flavor than fresh-shucked oysters. 

This doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious, just that they will have a slightly different flavor and texture than their fresh counterparts. 

Best Ways To Cook Oysters From A Jar

There are lots of great ways to cook oysters from a jar, but some of my favorites are listed below.

How To Fry Oysters From A Jar

  1. Rinse and dry your oysters.
  2. Toss your oysters in plain white flour
  3. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk
  4. Coat the oyster in egg and then dip into panko bread crumbs or more flour. You can add salt and dried herbs to the second flour or panko mix for more flavor. Dried parsley and garlic powder are a great combo.
  5. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Once oil is warm, add your oysters to the pan in a single layer with space between each oyster.
  7. Cook for 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown then carefully flip the oyster and cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. While the oysters are cooking, line a plate with a paper towel. Once cooked, place the oysters on the paper towel and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt
  9. Let cool and then enjoy with cocktail sauce or your favorite dip. 

How To Use Oysters From a Jar In A Chowder Or Soup 

If you want to use your oysters in chowder or a soup, there are a couple of steps you need to take to prepare them. You can use jarred oysters in virtually any seafood chowder or soup recipe that you enjoy.

Remember that oysters cook quickly, so you can add them near the end of your cooking time. I try to cook them for about 3-5 minutes

  1. Pour the jar of oysters into a colander over a sink and give them a quick rinse. 
  2. Once your chowder or soup is almost done, add the oysters to the pot. You will want to wait until there are about 3-5 minutes of cooking time left, so they don’t get too overcooked and chewy. 
  3. Season your soup with a pinch of salt and enjoy.

How To Saute Oysters From a Jar 

One of the most delicious ways to enjoy the natural flavor of the oyster is to give them a quick sauté on the stovetop with garlic, butter, and your favorite fresh herbs such as parsley and chili. 

  1. Drain and rinse your oysters and pat them dry using a paper towel. Set the oysters aside. 
  2. Finely mince 2 cloves of garlic, a small shallot, and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Set aside. 
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat on the stovetop.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the frying pan. Once melted, add garlic, shallot, parsley, a couple of sprinkles of chili flakes, and 1/2 a tsp. of sea salt. 
  5. Saute aromatics for 2-3 minutes or until bright and fragrant. 
  6. Add your oysters and saute with your herbs and spices for about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Remove the frying pan from the heat and scrape the contents into a serving bowl.
  8. Squeeze half a lemon over top and a sprinkle of sea salt. Enjoy with crusty bread to soak up the pan sauce. 

How To Broil Oysters From a Jar 

Another tasty choice for your jarred oysters is to bake them in the oven with cheese, cream, and herbs for a rich and flavorful snack. 

  1. Preheat your oven to broil and place the baking rack on the second rack from the top. 
  2. Lightly grease a broil-safe baking dish with oil and set it aside. 
  3. In a mixing bowl combine: 
    1. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    2. 1 clove chopped garlic 
    3. 1/2 a shallot, finely chopped
    4. 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
    5. 1/4 cup heavy cream
    6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
    7. 2 teaspoons champagne or white wine vinegar 
  4. Once mixed, add 2 dozen jarred oysters and stir to combine. 
  5. Pour mixture into greased broil-safe baking dish. 
  6. Cover with 1/2 a cup grated Parmesan cheese and a few twists of pepper. 
  7. Place the baking dish in the oven to broil for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  8. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it cool before enjoying.

How To Cook Shucked Oysters 

Shucked oysters can be used in many of the same ways as jarred oysters. You can use any of the above cooking techniques with fresh instead of jarred oysters if that is what you have on hand. 

They are more commonly enjoyed raw straight from the shell or topped with hot sauce or a mignonette sauce. When cooking with shucked oysters you don’t want to throw away the liquor that’s in the shell.

Shucked Oysters With A Classic Mignonette Sauce

While this recipe may not be a traditional cooking method, the acid in the mignonette actually cooks the oyster, much the same way a lime or vinegar will cook fish in a ceviche. 

  1. Finely chop a small shallot.
  2. Finely chop a clove of garlic. 
  3. Add the shallot and garlic to a small bowl with 1/4 tsp. ground pepper and a 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  4. For best results, you can let the mignonette set in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring over your fresh shucked oysters on the shell. 

Other great additions to a mignonette include:

  • Finely diced cucumber
  • Finely diced celery
  • Finely diced apple
  • Finely diced fennel
  • Finely diced peach, apricot, or nectarine
  • Lemon juice 
  • Hot sauce
  • Lime juice 
  • Apple cider vinegar

How To Cook Oysters In The Shell

When using freshly shucked oysters, they come in their own perfect baking dish- the shell.

Make sure you don’t remove the liquor from the oyster before cooking. You can try different methods of enjoying oysters from the shell including steaming, grilling, baking, or broiling. 

How To Steam Oysters In The Shell

  1. Scrub your oysters to remove any dirt or grit
  2. Fill a large saucepan with 1 cup of wine, 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 chopped shallot, and some fresh chopped parsley
  3. Add the oysters to the pot in a single layer with the cup side down and cover with a lid. 
  4. Turn the heat to high and steam for about 5-7 minutes. More than that and your oysters will likely overcook and turn rubbery and chewy. 
  5. Using tongs, carefully remove the oysters from the pot and let them cool. Save the sauce in the pot
  6. You may need to use a small paring knife to separate the oyster from the shell. Use gloves if you have them on hand for protection. 
  7. Enjoy your oysters with a squeeze of lemon and crusty bread to dip in the sauce. 

How To Bake Oysters In The Shell

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Shuck your oysters, being careful not to spill the liquor. 
  3. Once shucked, arrange the oysters in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  4. Then add butter and herbs to the shell and top with your favorite cheese. There are tons of different combinations you can try, so try searching google for a blend that interests you. 
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. You could choose to broil them instead for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, let it cool, and top with lemon and hot sauce. 

Up Next: How To Cook Smoked Neck Bones

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