There are three main oyster varieties available in the UK: native, Pacific (or rock oysters) and Portuguese. The native oyster (Ostrea edulis) is available from September to April and considered the best, but takes twice as long to grow as other varieties and is quite expensive. Faster growing Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) are available year round.
All oysters should feel heavy for their size and be kept with the round ‘cupped’ part of the shell facing downwards to retain moisture.
Despite their modern image as a luxury food, oysters used to be a cheap working class dish, traditionally used in British beef oyster pie. Now commonly served raw with lemon and pepper, though stronger salsa type toppings are also used.
Oysters can also be steamed open like mussels, topped then grilled or baked, or the meat can be removed, coated in tempura batter and deep-fried.
Here are some of the latest recipes for this particular species of fish.
To discover even more tasty meals, be sure to check out our full recipes section for a range of starters, snacks, main meals and sides.