The most important consideration with oysters is that they are freshly opened or shucked. It can take years to perfect the art of oyster shucking, so I suggest that you ask your fishmonger to open your oysters in front of you. By doing this you know how long they have been open, but also all the natural juice can be left to sit in the shell.
24 oysters, freshly shucked*
100g ocean trout roe
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
2 lemons, cut in half
50g castor sugar
150ml chardonnay vinegar, preferably Forum
12 golden shallots, finely diced
* I prefer Sydney rock oysters as I find they have a more intense salty flavour and are generally not too large. However no matter what variety of oyster you are serving, look for an oyster that sits full and plump in the shell that has an appealing shine. One more quick tip is not to serve your oysters to cold, as the flavour will be stunted and you won't be able to fully taste the oyster's wonderful briny flavour.
1. For the chardonnay dressing, place the chardonnay and sugar in a small saucepan, then bring to the boil. Flambe the liquid in the saucepan – that is, set it alight to burn off the alcohol. Wait until the flame goes out, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. Add the chardonnay vinegar and shallots to the cooled liquid, then leave to marinate for three to four hours.
3. To serve oysters, place a bed of rock salt on each plate, then top with six freshly shucked oysters. Spoon a teaspoon of the dressing over each oyster, then top each with half a teaspoon of the ocean trout roe and finish with finely chopped chives.
4. Place a lemon half, wrapped in muslin if desired, in the centre of the plate.
Note: Surplus chardonnay dressing can be stored in the refridgerator for up to three months - it gets better with time.