These have always been one of Stanley and my preferred starters to any meal, as we had these on our first date together at The Oyster Box. I proceeded to spit out the initial one into my napkin as it was such an unusual texture and flavour. We enjoy them best served chilled, on ice and in the shell with their own liquor. With a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, I prefer them with Tabasco sauce and Stanley prefers them with a traditional mignonette sauce. We like the smaller varieties and one certainly needs to be very careful today with all raw shellfish, to ensure that they are very fresh.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCooking for a date, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party, game day
Taste and Texturejuicy, light, tangy, winey
- 3 tablespoons (50ml) dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- White pepper to taste
- Salt as needed
- 36 very fresh, chilled oysters
- 6 lemon halves
- 6 washed and dried parsley sprigs or strands of seaweed
- Bottle of Tabasco sauce
Place the wine and vinegar in a saucepan and reduce to one-half over a medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the shallot, white pepper and salt as needed (oysters are naturally salty, so go light on the salt). Transfer to a bowl and let the flavours combine until cool, then pour the sauce into small ceramic ramekins or dishes for serving.
When ready to serve, having first confirmed all the oysters are still firmly closed (throwaway any that are loose or already partially opened), carefully prise open (or shuck) each oyster, wearing an oyster glove if available, with an oyster knife. Be sure to retain the liquor in each shell and remove any small broken shell pieces. Place six oysters on each platter, over crushed ice. Serve immediately with either an attractive parsley sprig or strand of seaweed, a ramekin of the sauce, a small fork and a bottle of Tabasco on the side.
2009 Bea Tollman