What is a Chicago Style Oyster?
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When you think of the windy city, there are going to be a few things that come to mind.
First might be Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls NBA team, or another championship franchise within the city limits, the Sears Tower, once the tallest in North America, or maybe the bodies of water that feed the rich dark soil.
Then you have the special foods that come from the capital of Illinois, Deep dish pizza, Chicago style Hotdogs, and then Chicago style Oysters. There are going to be a pair of ways to prepare these, either baked or raw, with certain garnishes.
What Does it Look Like?
The oyster is part of the Animalia Kingdom, Mollusca phylum, and has a hard shell to protect its softer, delicate insides from predators and other harm.
Chicago-style Oysters in raw form resemble clams. Only in this way, these two sea creatures use a hardened exoskeleton to provide shelter and protection from predators.
Served raw, these delicacies, annotation, and references not required should be topped with yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, and chopped onions, along with the traditional toppings of a Chicago-style hotdog.
The other version in which to prepare oysters, Chicago style, will be to have them baked and breaded for a crispier fried food experience.
What Does it Taste Like?
The raw flavored ingredients will have that sweet relish, mustard seeds tartness, along with natural saltiness taste compilation. In addition to that, when you bake these delicacies in the oven, you will be rewarded with a whole new food taste experience.
Using light flour with toasted panko and breadcrumbs which then becomes a nice crispy top layer that can be enjoyed, followed up with the salt tart of the oyster. Consider garnishing with light cheese, thinly sliced scallions, and a squirt of lemon juice.
Serve immediately with a nice white wine or Rosé for something fun and fresh on a warm sunny day or for an evening appetizer or light snack option.
How Long Does it Take to Prepare it?
Let us take a time measurement on the raw form first, which takes no more than fifteen minutes, with the ingredients prepared and available to top the oysters with.
As far as any recipe, it will certainly take longer than that, but not much longer; most will only take about fifteen minutes for prep, another fifteen to thirty minutes for cooking the ingredients, and another five to ten minutes to bake and allow to cool.
Now each recipe requires different steps to get the ingredients into the right form to make a baked or Chicago-style baked oyster dish, but do not expect it to take more than an hour in total to prep and cook.
Which Oysters Should You Use for Chicago-Style Oysters?
Be sure to avoid any Rocky Mountain oysters or similar products. The better choice will be to add some form of seawater descriptor when searching for the type of oyster that will be perfect for a Chicago-style baked oyster dish.
Below is a list of Oyster types a chef should know about before attempting dishes like this:
- Belon Oysters – Native to the Belon River in Northwestern France.
- Blue Point Oysters – Found on the Atlantic Coastline of the United States.
- Kumamoto Oysters – Found on the Pacific Coastline of the United States.
- Pacific Oysters – Found on the Pacific Coastlines of the United States and Asian states.
- Olympia Oysters – Found on the Washington state Pacific Coastline of the United States.
Final Thoughts on What is a Chicago Style Oyster
The fun part is trying the plethora of different oyster varieties that are found everywhere on the planet. This includes freshwater and seawater species that found a toehold in the Earth’s changing climates.
Naturally, the flavors are going to be different, depending on the geolocation of which type of oysters you will be using for your baked dish.
Try different toppings to get the taste pallet of the raw seafood item, and this will be a fun way to try them all and decide which will taste best in the Chicago-style baked oyster recipe.
If you are nervous about preparing these yourself, try them in a restaurant where the chefs have gained expertise in preparing them.