Rock Oysters (Saccostrea commercialis) Photographs
Oysters have always been linked with
love. When Aphrodite, the Greek
goddess of love, sprang forth from the
sea on an oyster shell and promptly gave
birth to Eros, the word "aphrodisiac"
Why are Oysters the Food of Love?
Oysters are rich in vitamins and
minerals, especially zinc, which is
implicated in the production of
testosterone. They are also a source of
dopamine, which amplifies the intensity
of sensation. Serve Oysters on
Sydney Rock Oysters are endemic to Australia, and are found in bays, inlets and
sheltered estuaries from Hervey Bay in Queensland to Wingan Inlet in Eastern Victoria.
They have a thick shell with a smooth exterier surface. There are hinge teeth on
the inner margin of their upper shell. The mantle edges and adductor muscle scar are
Sydney Rock Oysters are capable of tolerating a wide range of salinities. They
are usually found in the intertidal zone to 3 metres below the low water mark.
Sydney Rock Oysters are "broadcast spawners" that is eggs and sperm are
released into open water where fertilisation occurs. Within hours of fertilisation
the eggs develop into free swimming planktonic larvae. The larvae swim in esturine
and coastal waters for up to 3 weeks during which time they develop transparent shells and
a retractable foot. The larvae then settle on a clean substrate using the foot to
find a suitable site. The foot is resorbed once the larva is attached. The
shell darkens and the small animal takes on the appearance of an adult oyster.
Growth rates vary with local conditions. Sydney Rock Oysters generally reach 40-60g in
2 - 3 years. Sydney Rock oysters change sex during life. They start out as
males and later change to females. About 75% of prime eating oysters are female.
They are filter feeders, straining planktonic algae from the water. They are prey to a
variety of fish, including stingrays, mud crabs, whelks and starfish.
Did you know? Sydney Rock Oysters change sex during their lifetime. They
start out as males and later change to females
Did you know? A group of oysters is
called a "bed"
South QLD to North East Victoria
Australian Species Code
For every 100 grams raw product
for Oyster fillet.
30% of total
13% of total
57% of total
Oysters have a strong,
rich and distinctive flavour and a soft, silky texture. They
are often served raw, but deep frying, shallow frying and
grilling are also popular. Pacific oysters are particularly
good in pies.
The key to not overcooking oysters is to ensure that cooking
stops as soon as the edges of the meat start to curl.
Raw or au naturel oyster can create precious portions such
as: with lemon juice and cracked pepper; topped with tabasco
sauce, tomato, garlic and cream; in the famous Bloody Mary
tomato juice spiced with vodka; swimming in a sauce of lime,
ginger and shallots; or Stuart Prosser's tartare, which
incorporates horseradish and creme fraeche.
Grilled oysters can be tantalisingly topped with: the
traditional Kilpatrick; fresh herbs and breadcrumbs; or
balsamic vinegar and roasted capsicum.
Deep fried oysters in batter can be served with basil, aioli
or spicy soy dressings (an appetising additive to warm
Alternatively, try blending oysters with bechamel and serve
in bread or pastry cups for hors doeuvres, or include them
in soups and bisques.
Bottled oysters can be used in cooked dishes such as soups,
terrines and braised dishes.
(Shucking) Oysters: Scrub
the Oysters under running water to clean shells. Place
Oyster, flat side up, on a board and press onto end opposite
hinge using a cloth to protect hand. Insert tip of oyster
knife next to hinge, push firmly against hinge and pry the
shells apart, sliding the knife against the inside of the
top shell to sever the muscle holding the shell together.
Discard top shell, rinse Oyster in bottom shell lightly in a
bowl of cold water to remove shell fragments and grit. With
Oyster knife, loosen Oyster from bottom shell and turn it
over for good presentation.
How to shuck an
Sydney Fish Market takes you through how to tell the
difference between a Sydney Rock Oyster and a Pacific
Oyster, what to look for, how to prepare and store them. Not
to mention how to shuck your own!
Store live oysters,
mussels in the refrigerator. Keep damp by placing in
shallow bowl with a wet paper towel draped over them. Don't
store an oyster on its side. Every so often, it will relax
and open up a bit. If it's sitting on its side, it could
lose all its liquid which is vital for flavour.
Keep fresh shucked oysters,
scallops and clams in their own container and store in the
refrigerator. For best results, surround the container with
Commercial Fishing for Sydney Rock Oysters:
There is no commercial harvesting of wild Sydney Rock Oysters. All commercial
stocks are farmed.