HAVE YOU EVER ATTENDED AN OYSTER PARTY?
If you have, you know how much fun it can be. If you never have, keep reading and we’ll tell you how we do it - who to invite, what to serve, quantities, and a whole host of great ideas. Oyster parties are not difficult to plan. They are unique and fun for all ages. We especially enjoy holding our get-togethers in the summer when nothing beats the great outdoors. A picnic table is the perfect spot to allow everyone to try their hand at shucking an oyster and you don’t have to worry about the mess.
The versatile oyster is also the perfect elegant party food whether you’re celebrating a special birthday, an anniversary, a retirement or the holidays. In fact, making the oyster the highlight, the “Piece de Resistance”, will ensure you have something truly different to offer your family and guests while enjoying one of Mother Nature’s truly decadent foods. Here’s how we do it:
The majority of your guests should be friends who truly love oysters. Also, invite a few of those adventurous souls who have never tried oysters and a few diehards who say they will never eat oysters.
You don’t want to cajole anyone into eating your food, but, once your guests are caught up in the festivities and they do try one, you will be amazed by the transformation. We recently served our Rocky Fellas (this is Brian’s own version of the classic Oysters Rockefeller) to a guest who had always refused to try oysters in any form. She finally did try one and, after her 6th, we took the empty plate away and she asked if there were any more coming!
When hosting an oyster party, make certain that your invitations include an RSVP by a fixed date. It’s important to have a head count so you can have the appropriate number of oysters on hand. If you are having a large party and people don’t know each other, name tags are always a good idea. Adding a bit of oyster trivia to each name tag makes for an interesting conversation starter.
Click to see: 80 Interesting Oyster Facts.
PLAN YOUR MENU
Keep it simple. We suggest serving 2 hot recipes and raw oysters for the true
oyster aficionados. An oyster party is not complete without serving the famous oyster shooter. Brian’s Shooters are so popular we suggest you have some oysters shucked and ready for this particular treat as you won’t be able to keep up with the demand unless you have a professional shucker on the premises. We guarantee it.
Estimate approximately 8 oysters per person. Only you can judge the quantity based on the make up of your guest list (i.e. are they all oyster lovers?) For 25 guests, you would need 200 oysters using 50 oysters for each of 4 different presentations.
•50 oysters would go to make Brian's Rocky Fellas. These can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven during the party. They are extremely popular and you’ll want to be diligent about making sure everyone gets a taste. People have been known to lurk around the oven waiting for them to come out.
•50 oysters would be shucked and served raw on a bed of crushed ice. You can pre-open them and simply lift off the cap when it’s serving time. Accompaniments should include your favourite hot sauce, horseradish, fresh lemon wedges, your favourite brushetta or salsa and Mignonette Sauce.
•50 oysters would be reserved for Brian’s Shooters.
•50 oysters would be barbecued. We highly recommend Erskine’s Barbecued Oysters. If the time of year is wrong for barbecuing, then you can substitute any other cooked recipe you find appealing. (We barbecue year round!)
We recommend cold dry white wine - there are so many wonderful Chardonnays out there to choose from whether from California, Australia, France or Canada - it’s a matter of personal preference. A bottle of Muscadet is also a good choice (this wine is from France - very light, a bit tangy with a little sparkle). Plenty of ice cold beer is a must. All go extremely well with oysters. Have non-alcoholic drinks available as well.
If it is an intimate and elegant party and the budget allows it, serve champagne.
Particularly delicious with oysters is a hearty multi-grain bread or pumpernickel - cut
up into small squares - have butter for the bread. A platter of raw vegetables and dip looks particularly attractive next to oysters.
A thoughtful set up of your venue will facilitate not only the preparations, but also the movement of your guests from one presentation to another.
We generally set up our “stations” as follows
1. RAW STATION - a picnic size table with a durable and washable surface for the raw oysters. Have the oysters on one side and a receptacle for the shells on the other side to speed the shucking process. Have shucking knives and small towels handy. Have a tray of “accompaniments” available at this station.
2. SHOOTER STATION - a table set up with oysters and a receptacle for empty shells as above. Have an ample supply of “shooter” glasses on hand as well as the various ingredients listed in Brian’s Shooters.
3. MISCELLANEOUS STATION - this table can include the trays of veggies, bread, coolers of beer, wine, water, pop, glasses, napkins, forks, serving plates, etc.
4. Some folks set up a table where trays of raw or cooked oysters can be set down for guests to choose from. We’ve found, however, that getting a tray of oysters from the preparation area to the table is a monumental task in itself as guests usually take them from the tray en-route. We’ve found that serving them directly from trays is the most practical and generates a lot of fun commentary.
LASTLY, CREATE THE MOOD
Don’t forget the music - liven up your party with music from Atlantic Canada - there’s some great Down East Music out there or you might try some Jazz or Blues depending on the occasion or your preference.
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