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1. Wash oysters with cold running water to remove grit and sand. Before opening, place oysters in ice for 1 hour so they are well chilled when served.
2. Prepare red wine vinegar dressing by mixing the fine diced shallots and vinegar together.
3. Open the oysters by holding the oyster in one hand, cup-side down with hinge toward you. Insert oyster knife into the hinge. Applying gentle pressure, twist and rock the oyster toward you. When you feel the point go in, twist the blade to pop the shell and run the blade forward over the meat to sever the abductor muscle.
4. To serve, cut under the oyster meat to release it from bottom shell, being careful to keep as much liquid as possible. Discard top shell. Place opened oyster in its bottom shell on the bed of crushed ice.
5. Arrange with samphire and lemon wedges for garnish. Serve with a bottle of tabasco sauce and add as much or as little as you dare.