Crank the oven to 425 degrees. Fill a baking pan halfway with rock salt.
the oysters free of mud and sand and set them aside. Do not dry — in
the hot oven, the excess moisture will create steam that loosens the
hinge muscle, making the oyster easier to open.
Place pan in preheated oven until the rock salt is crazy hot, about 15 minutes.
the damp oysters, deep-cup-side down, on the hot rock salt. (Don't
overcrowd, as they need air circulation.) Return pan to oven to roast
until the tension on the hinge seals is released and the oyster is
slightly open, 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any that do not open at all.
one by one and using a folded kitchen towel, hold each oyster level (so
you don't lose any liquid) and open with an oyster knife (or, in a
pinch, we've used a paring knife, with care).
First, hold the knife curved-side down, tracing the upper shell, cutting the adductor muscle, and removing the top shell.
go curved-side up along the bottom, again severing the adductor.Many
oyster knivesare gently curved in order to follow the shape of the
shell. It is an easy process.
the oyster sitting in the bottom shell and serve with a drop of hot
sauce — Louisiana Crystal brand is mild enough to let the flavor of the
oyster shine through — or sriracha. You can also add a dot of cocktail
sauce (recipe below).
the sauce in small portions, keeping back-up containers in the
refrigerator so the sauce is always fresh and cold. Small (about
2-ounce) white porcelain ramekins (like miniature soufflé dishes) will
work. They are often sold in multi-packets at kitchen supply stores and
are also useful for individual servings of jam, syrup, or salt. —Francine Maroukian
• 12-ounce jar Heinz chili sauce
• 3 tablespoons grated white horseradish (or more if you are stout-hearted), available in refrigerated jars at the supermarket
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use and serve cold, cold, cold.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (and keeps well in the refrigerator).
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bryan Caswell, Reef and El Real, Houston via Esquire.com