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To prepare an oyster platter, get them shucked at the fishmonger the day of the party, put them on ice and serve them on a cold tray. Garnish with lemons and grated horseradish or mignonette sauce. This traditional French sauce for oysters gives them a piquant flavour.

Servings: 3 hours including chilling time

Ready time: 5 minutes

Wine pairings:

A sake martini is a fine theme cocktail for this appetizer (two parts gin or vodka to one part good sake, stirred not shaken). Sparkling wine is versatile and festive – I’d suggest Spanish cava or trendy prosecco from Italy. Grassy Chilean sauvignon blanc is a flexible and affordable white-wine option, while zippy, slightly chilled Beaujolais, the French red, won’t be a total disaster with oysters. Beer-wise, I’d opt for a slightly bitter, refreshing Czech-style pilsner. - Beppi Crosariol

Ingredients

36 oysters

1/4 cup red wine

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

2 teaspoons cracked peppercorns

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Method

Combine red wine, red wine vinegar, shallots, peppercorns and lemon rind and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let sit for 2 hours to concentrate the flavours. Chill before serving with oysters. Makes about 1/2 cup.

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