Oysters are a delicacy that have been enjoyed for centuries, and Hilton’s TM brand oysters are no exception.
Known for their high quality and sustainability, these Pacific oysters are grown in the pristine waters of the Northwest and shucked within one day of harvest.
But can you eat them raw?
While some may argue that raw oysters are the only way to truly experience their unique flavor and texture, Hilton’s recommends cooking their pre-shucked oysters for the best quality.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this recommendation and provide some delicious cooking ideas for these delectable mollusks.
So, let’s dive in and discover the best ways to enjoy Hilton’s oysters!
Can You Eat Hilton’s Oysters Raw?
Hilton’s TM brand oysters are not recommended to be eaten raw. This is not due to health concerns, but rather a quality issue. The pre-shucked oysters are meant to be cooked to bring out their full flavor and texture.
While some may argue that raw oysters provide a unique culinary experience, Hilton’s believes that cooking their oysters is the best way to enjoy them. The company takes pride in their sustainable farming practices and shucking process, ensuring that only the finest oysters bear the Hilton’s name.
So, if you’re wondering if you can eat Hilton’s oysters raw, the answer is no. But fear not, there are plenty of delicious ways to prepare these delectable mollusks.
The Risks Of Eating Raw Oysters
While Hilton’s oysters are not recommended to be eaten raw, it is important to understand the risks associated with consuming raw or undercooked oysters in general. Raw oysters can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause foodborne illnesses. Some of the most concerning illnesses that can result from eating raw or undercooked oysters include Vibrio infection, norovirus infection, and hepatitis A.
Vibrio bacteria are naturally occurring in warm ocean waters where oysters are cultivated. These bacteria can cause the illness vibriosis, which can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pains, and severe weakness. It is important to note that an oyster contaminated with Vibrio bacteria does not look, smell or taste different from a safe oyster.
Norovirus and hepatitis A virus are other viruses that can be found in raw oysters. These viruses can end up in water along with sewage materials and are known to spread via the fecal-oral route. Salmonella has also been found in raw oysters. These viruses and bacteria can cause severe illness and even death, especially in people with pre-existing health problems.
Oysters are particularly dangerous to eat raw because they feed by filtering ocean water. As ocean waters warm, more viruses and bacteria can thrive, leading to a greater risk of oyster contamination. This process helps clean the water but does not help the consumer of raw shellfish. Cooking oysters properly can kill Vibrio and other harmful germs they might contain.
Hilton’s Oysters: Quality And Sustainability
Hilton’s brand oysters have a long-standing reputation for quality and sustainability. The company takes great care in ensuring that their oysters are of the highest quality, from the moment they are hatched to the moment they are shucked.
The oysters begin their journey in one of Hilton’s hatcheries in Quilcene, Washington or Kona, Hawaii. These hatcheries are carefully monitored to ensure that the oysters are healthy and thriving. Once the oysters are ready, they are transferred to one of Hilton’s farms located in Washington, Oregon, or California. These farms are situated in pristine waters and provide the perfect environment for the oysters to grow and mature.
To maintain the freshness of the oysters, Hilton’s shucks them within one day of harvest. The shucking process is done by hand in one of their HACCP approved and SQF certified plants in South Bend, Washington, Bay City, Oregon, or Eureka, California. This ensures that every oyster is carefully handled and inspected for quality.
After shucking, the oysters are thoroughly washed three times to remove any debris or impurities. Hilton’s experienced team then sorts the oysters by size and quality, selecting only the finest ones to bear the Hilton’s name.
Hilton’s commitment to sustainability is evident in their farming practices. They use sustainable methods to grow their oysters, ensuring that they have a minimal impact on the environment. This includes using recycled materials for their equipment and minimizing waste.
Why Hilton’s Recommends Cooking Their Oysters
Hilton’s recommends cooking their oysters for several reasons. First and foremost, cooking the oysters enhances their flavor and texture. The heat from cooking brings out the natural sweetness of the oysters and gives them a firmer texture, making them more enjoyable to eat.
Additionally, cooking the oysters eliminates any potential health concerns associated with consuming raw oysters. Raw oysters can contain harmful bacteria, such as vibrio, which can cause illness if not properly handled or cooked. By cooking the oysters, any harmful bacteria are destroyed, making them safe to eat.
Another reason Hilton’s recommends cooking their oysters is to showcase the quality of their product. The company takes great care in their sustainable farming practices and shucking process, ensuring that only the best oysters make it to market. Cooking the oysters allows customers to fully appreciate the quality of Hilton’s products and taste the difference between their oysters and others on the market.
Cooking Ideas For Hilton’s Oysters
If you have a batch of Hilton’s oysters and are wondering how to cook them, there are several cooking ideas to consider. Here are some delicious ways to prepare Hilton’s oysters:
1. Broiled Oysters: Preheat your broiler and toss the oysters with herbs, red pepper flakes, oil, and vinegar in a large bowl. Transfer the oyster mixture to a shallow baking dish, sprinkle Parmesan over the oysters, and season with pepper. Drizzle with oil and broil until golden brown and bubbling.
2. Grilled Oysters: Take freshly shucked oysters and rinse them before adding them to the grill at high temperature. Top them with butter, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, Romano cheese, salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Grill until the butter melts (around 3 minutes), then remove from the grill. Add fresh jalapenos, Monterey jack cheese, and crispy bacon. Finish in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 minutes.
3. Oyster Stew: This delicious stew is full of seafood flavor and is an easy recipe to make. Heat up milk on low heat in a double boiler and add fresh shucked oysters to it. Be patient while waiting for the milk to heat up and avoid scorching it. Once the milk has been added, it should only take about 15 minutes on low heat for it to begin to show bubbles around the edges.
4. Fried Oysters: When frying Hilton’s oysters, make sure they are fresh as low-temperature frying can cause sogginess if the oil leaks into the oyster. Create a barrier seal around the oyster by frying at high temperature to keep oil out and prevent any off-putting smells.
Remember that fresh shucked oysters are best in the United States during months that contain an “R.” If fresh shucked oysters are not available, look for shucked oysters that are NOT smoked and have been packed in water. Shucked oysters can be frozen for up to 6 weeks so grab a couple of pints when you find them fresh and at a good price to enjoy at a later date.
Grilling, Baking, And Frying: Different Methods For Different Tastes
If you’re a fan of oysters, but prefer them cooked, there are several different methods you can use to prepare Hilton’s oysters. Each method offers a unique taste and texture, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your palate.
Grilling is a popular method for cooking oysters, as it adds a smoky flavor to the meat. To grill Hilton’s oysters, preheat your grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the oysters on the grate, either on a baking sheet or shell side down. Top each oyster with a pat of butter and sprinkle with chopped herbs like parsley, tarragon, chives, or cilantro. Close the grill or cover with tin foil and cook for about five minutes until the oysters are simmering in their shells. Use tongs to remove the oysters from the grill and serve with crackers.
Baking is another great way to cook Hilton’s oysters. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the oysters on a baking sheet. Top each oyster with a mixture of breadcrumbs, butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the oysters are cooked through.
If you’re looking for a crispy texture, frying Hilton’s oysters is an excellent choice. Begin by shucking the oysters and dredging them in an egg bath. Cover them in spiced breadcrumbs and fry them in a heated frying pan with oil until they are browned on both sides. For an extra crunch, try serving them with creamy radish and cucumber salad.
Pairing Hilton’s Oysters With Wine And Other Beverages
If you’re planning to cook Hilton’s oysters, you may be wondering what beverages to pair them with. Here are some suggestions to enhance your dining experience:
1. Chardonnay: A buttery and oaky Chardonnay pairs well with cooked oysters, especially those with a creamy sauce. The wine’s acidity helps cut through the richness of the dish.
2. Pinot Noir: For a red wine option, try a light-bodied Pinot Noir. The wine’s earthy and fruity notes complement the briny flavor of the oysters.
3. Sparkling Wine: If you’re looking for a celebratory drink, go for a dry sparkling wine such as Champagne or Prosecco. The bubbles and acidity provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the oysters.
4. Gin Martini: A classic gin martini is a great option for those who prefer cocktails. The botanicals in gin complement the briny flavor of the oysters, while the dry vermouth adds a touch of herbal complexity.
5. Citrus-Based Non-Alcoholic Drinks: For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, citrus-based drinks like lemonade or iced tea can complement the flavor of cooked oysters. Just be sure to avoid overly sweet drinks that can overpower the taste of the dish.