Oysters with mint, lime and coriander relish

This recipe comes from my book  Citrus and Spice  .   If you plan to shuck (open) the oysters yourself, you will need a special oyster knife.  Buy a few extra oysters if you feel in need of practice.   You can always eat the rejects.   Some fishmongers will shuck them for you, but you will need to collect them shortly before needed and transport them very carefully so as not to lose their saline juice from their shells.   Keep chilled.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 shallot, finely sliced

tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger

green Thai chilli, finely sliced

teaspoon caster sugar

A large handful fresh mint leaves

A large handful fresh coriander leaves

24 oysters, opened 

Place the lime juice and Thai fish sauce in a small mixing bowl. Add the shallot, ginger, chilli and caster sugar. Very roughly chop the mint and coriander leaves and mix into the lime juice.   Set aside while you prepare the oysters.   If you want to prepare the relish quite far in advance, do everything apart from the final chopping and mixing of the leaves so that they retain their fragrance and bright colour.

To shuck the oysters, wrap your left hand in a tea towel to guard against slipping and place an oyster in the palm of your bound hand.  Reverse this process if left-handed. The curved side should nestle in your palm.   Place the blade of the oyster knife under the hinge and push it into the oyster.   Then firmly holding the top of the shell with the fingers of your left hand, lever the blade of the knife up and twist slightly to force the 2 shells apart.   Discard the flat top shell.   Finally, cut underneath the oyster to free it from its curved shell.   Try not to spill its precious juices.   

Arrange the oysters on ice and serve with the relish.

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