Oysters are as decadent as caviar, it’s what the average guy eats to be rich for a day.

It’s so hot the chiller can’t keep the Sauvignon Blanc cold enough. You order another bottle and the waiter brings it with a menu and more ice (your bucket of cubes is melting). The sun and the wine is taking its toll. What you need is food: a delicacy that will fill the gap, cool you down and feel like an event.

Oysters (not even entertaining the rumour of their aphrodisiac powers) are your only option. Because, for a sun-kissed, fidgety group of young adults, a plate of oysters on ice is a dozen toys to play with at the dinner table. You can swop, collect and transform each one of them to suit how you feel at that second. They come with a bunch of accessories from lemon to Tabasco and, no matter what your budget, no one will object to the call for more. As decadent as caviar, but as cheap as calamari, it’s what the average guy eats to be rich for a day. Have your day of riches now. Once you can shuck one of these boys, the world’s your proverbial oyster. All methods below are for two, requiring four shucked oysters (except the quiche, which requires 12) Except where mentioned – always eat the oyster with its natural juices.

STRAIGHT UP

Splash of Tabasco, a little black pepper,squeeze of lemon juice. Swallow.

OYSTERS PROVENÇAL

Cover each oyster with garlic butter and a thick layer of Gruyére cheese and fresh breadcrumbs. Place under a hot grill or bake in an oven for fi ve minutes, until crisp and golden.

SEXY LADY

2 lemon wedges

6 slices smoked salmon, cut into fine strips>

250ml crème fraiche (sour cream)

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped for garnish

Red and black caviar

Sprinkle the oysters with lemon juice and wrap with strips of smoked salmon. Using a teaspoon, dollop the sour cream onto the end of the oysters and garnish with the chives,red and black caviar. Serve on a bed of crushed ice. (If you can wait that long.)

THAI STYLE OYSTERS

In a small bowl, mix finely shredded ginger, chilli and sliced spring onions. Add a tablespoon of lime or lemon juice, a tablespoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of brown sugar.Mix all these ingredients together really well and put a dollop on each oyster.

TEMPURA OYSTERS

1 egg

1 cup ice water

1 cup all purpose flour

Beat the egg in a bowl and add the ice water (it must be very cold). Add sifted flour to the bowl and mix lightly. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Dip the oysters into the batter and deep fry immediately for about 20 to 30 seconds until the batter is golden and crispy. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce.

OYSTER QUICHE

For the pastry

175g plain flour

Salt

75g butter

For the filling

12 oysters

4 eggs

½ a cup of milk

½ a cup of cream

Juice from 8 oysters

To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough, force into a greased pie dish until the whole dish is lined, then blind-bake (without the filling) in a preheated oven at 190°C for 15to 20 minutes until the pastry is lightly brown.

KNIFE IN THE BACK

First up, you’ve got to find an oyster supplier. If anyone offers you frozen oysters with the promise that they’re good, tell them to go to hell – fresh, live oysters are the only way to go. Think of it in terms of the genuine part or a second-hand, overused one and you’ll be able to tell if they’re good or not– live oysters will give you wounds before they release their love. So, you need to know how to shuck an oyster.

Here’s how

Wrap the oyster in a kitchen towel, and place it on a flat surface with the hinge facing away from you Insert the oyster knife into the hinge. Twist the knife back and forth to pry the shell open.Next up: pry the lid open wide enough to hold it up with your thumb. Try not to plunge the oyster knife into the oyster once the shell’s open – the idea here is to keep the oyster plump and whole.

Science or Fiction

Like all seafoods, oysters contain high amounts of phosphorus and iodine, which are believed to be conducive to stamina. MFK Fisher wrote, “There are many reasons why an oyster is supposed to have this desirable quality… Most of them are physiological, and have to do with an oyster’s odour, its consistency, and probably its strangeness.”