This simple, peppery, vinegar sauce is a classic French accompaniment to freshly shucked oysters.
Makes 12 and serves 1 to 2 as a first course
1/2 cup best-quality white or red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Grated zest of 1 lemon
12 fresh oysters
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, pepper, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt; set aside.
To shuck the oysters, using a towel, hold an oyster flat on the work surface, flat shell up. Insert the tip of an oyster knife into the hinge and twist to open it. Slide the knife along the inside of the upper shell to free the oyster from the shell; discard the upper shell. Slide the knife under the oyster to free it from the lower shell, but leave it in the shell.
Arrange the shucked oysters on two serving plates, preferably oyster plates with wells. If you are using regular plates, cover them with rock salt or fresh seaweed, sometimes available at the fishmonger, to create a nest for the oysters so they don’t tip over. Spoon a teaspoon of sauce over each oyster and serve immediately.