I’ve always found Dominique Bretodeau, a character from the French movie Amélie to be my soul mate, at least, when it comes to his eating habits.
Every night, he would roast himself a chicken, carved the whole bird, but ate the chicken oysters first. Still, chicken oysters are not everyone’s “cup of tea.”
My husband and I, for example, consider them to be the most flavorful part of the chicken, while my kids are not very fond of their taste and texture.
However, when I prepare the recipe, I’ll give you later, they literally clean their plates.
What are Chicken Oysters?
- Chicken oysters are two small, oyster-shaped pieces of dark meat. They are considered to be the best part of the chicken because they are soft, tender, delicious, and very flavorful. You can find them on both sides of the chicken, close to the thigh or backbone area.
- They’re sometimes known as the “Chef’s Reward,” or as I like to call them, “girl’s best friend” (almost as diamonds) because if you know how to prepare them properly, your family will adore you, trust me on this.
How to Cut Oysters?
Many people make a mistake when it comes to the choice of knives. An ordinary, broad blade, which is often called “chef’s knife,” is more than suitable for this task. Besides, I’m using it both for chopping vegetables and fresh spices and for carving.
Also, a carving knife must be quality and sharp enough to slice through the meat without much effort, so the edges will come out neat and flat. You don’t want your favorite part of the chicken to look like you cut it with the ax, do you?
And last, but not least, even experienced people fail to understand how it is important for the knife to be dry. All the juices and the water which are running down the blade and the handle are making the grip slippery, which can cause severe injuries.
Also, these liquids are reducing the friction between the blade and the meat. My mother used to call this situation “tickling.” Take a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe both the blade and the handle with it.
Cutting the chicken leg with oysters requires a gentle touch more than anything else. Start with putting the chicken on its back and pulling the leg from the body. Next, cut just the skin between the body and the leg.
If it is the left leg, pull it to your right and downwards until you hear “pop.” This means that the joint snapped, and with a knife, cut the meat as close to the body as possible. Now, if you are holding the drumstick bone in your right hand, the upper left corner of the meat should be the oyster if you followed the instruction correctly.
If not, here is a video of Gordon Ramsey showing how it is done:
Here’s the short step-by-step guideline:
- The oyster is tucked away in a pocket of the backbone.
- To make the leg fall forward, cut into stretched skin between the leg and the breast.
- When the skin is cut, grasp the entire leg and bend it downwards so that the leg joint pops out.
- Pick the chicken up by the leg and cut horizontally, close to the backbone, until you reach the oyster.
- After, turn the knife and make a single cut down.
- Put the chicken down and pull the leg.
Further Reading: Easy guide about cooking chicken gizzards
My Family’s Favorite
What follows is the recipe I mentioned above, the only chicken oysters recipe my whole family enjoys equally. Once you get past separating the oysters from the whole chicken, this recipe is a true breeze.
Chicken Oysters in Tomato Sauce
- 4 chicken oysters
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 1 black garlic
- 14 ounces peeled tomato
- 10 ounces champignons
- black and green olives 6 pieces of each
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- cayenne paprika (dried and ground)
- salt and black pepper
- First, separate “oysters” from the bone (as we’ve practiced), flatten them with the pestle for meat, rub with salt, pepper, and cayenne paprika or pepper, to taste.
- Cut the mozzarella into slices. Put two slices of mozzarella on every piece of oyster meat. Fold the meat and attach with a toothpick.
- Fry the stuffed oysters in hot oil, flipping them on each side to get that beautiful golden-brown crust.
- Put them on a plate. You can cover them with aluminum foil or parchment paper to keep the warmth.
- Clean the onions and chop them into cubes. Cut the olives in a ring shape, champignons (mushrooms) into slices, and peeled tomato into bigger chunks.
- Fry the onion in heated oil until it gets a smooth texture (becomes translucent). Add the champignons (mushrooms), olives, tomato, and red wine. Simmer until the mushrooms become tender and soft.
- When the sauce is prepared, add the stuffed pieces of oysters, and season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne paprika. The amount of seasonings depends on your preference.
- Enjoy the meal with your family! Grab a glass of red wine to match your sauce.
Some Basic Tips for Preparing Chicken Oysters
- If you leave the skin on while cooking, the meat will stay soft and juicy.
- Don’t ever undercook the chicken or overcook it. The first is unhealthy, the second untasty.
- Chicken meat must be tightly wrapped when it is in the freezer or refrigerator to avoid freeze burns and to dry out.
- When under the lid or in foil, the chicken takes longer to cook.
- White meat and smaller pieces ( breasts and wings) need less time for frying, grilling, broiling than legs and oysters.
- Leave enough space between the chicken pieces while cooking to allow them to get that brown, gold color evenly.
- Always use a sharp knife for cutting the chicken, especially in joint areas (legs-back).
- Leave the white meat (breast) over the night in yogurt in the fridge to get soft and juicy meat that will melt in your mouth.
Further Reading: Do You Know When The Chicken Is Bad?
So what are you waiting for? You are not getting any younger, and there are so many chicken recipes to try. Grab that chicken meat and make me proud!
And don’t forget, eat the oysters first, just like Dominique, unless you love to leave the sweetest part for the end.