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Bloody Mary is a classic accompaniment for oysters, so Aidan MacManus of The King Sitric Fish Restaurant in Howth, Co Dublin, uses native west coast oysters for this dish whenever possible, although rock oysters (Gigas) - which are farmed not far away in Carlingford Lough - can be used instead.
When using rock oysters, select them as small as possible.
Serves 1 as a light main course, 2 as a starter:
1 tbsp vodka
a dash of Tabasco
a double dash of Worcestershire sauce
juice of half a lemon
1 red chilli pepper, chopped
a little cucumber, skinned and seeded
First make the Bloody Mary: Blanch the tomatoes, then skin them and discard the pulp. Finely dice two of the tomatoes and leave aside. Put the rest in a liquidiser with the vodka, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and the red chilli pepper. Liquidise.
Take the diced tomatoes and add an equal amount of diced, seeded and skinned cucumber. Add to the juice and refrigerate until required.
To prepare the oysters: Using an oyster knife, carefully open the oysters over a bowl to catch the juices. Loosen and turn the oyster in its shell, then strain any juices and return to their shells. Cover with about a tablespoon of the Bloody Mary sauce and chill for 30 minutes.
To serve: Arrange the oysters by the half dozen, on oyster plates if available. Serve with a wedge of lemon, and offer some freshly baked brown bread on the side.