What is it about writers and oysters? We have Shakespeare to thank for the phrase “the world is your oyster”—it’s an adaptation of a line from his play The Merry Wives of Windsor. Almost three hundred years ago, Oscar Wilde picked up the line, remarking that “the world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
Alyce Alexandra’s zesty dressing will ensure no one needs to give fork etiquette a second thought; combined with the salty juices of a just-shucked oyster, it’s so good you can simply pick up a shell and swallow its contents in one briny mouthful. The finger lime, if you can find it, is a bonus ingredient;
a fresh finishing touch that gives the oysters a little extra party-season polish.
Speaking of seasons, you can safely ignore the adage about only eating oysters in months containing the letter ‘r’ (or the version that advises doing the reverse). In the northern hemisphere, where the saying originated, it was not so much about safety as about oyster quality; British flat oysters can be slightly gritty or oily-tasting in the summer months just prior to spawning. In Australia, rock oysters behave differently and are typically at their best between September and March—although, as the Sydney Fish Market’s excellent information pages advise, some people do prefer their flinty winter flavour. Pacific oysters, it must be said, can get super-creamy at the height of summer—but a dressing such as this will help cut their extreme richness.
This recipe makes 1.5 cups of dressing, enough for about two dozen oysters. Alyce says it can be prepared up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge until you need it—one less thing to think about while you prepare for a pearler of