Serving oysters is a cool party trick. Trot out a tray of a dozen of them and expect oohs and ahhs from your guests. They've got a reputation for being elegant, but we think oysters keep it real. They have to be dug from the sand, making them literally as down to earth as root vegetables. Potatoes and oysters: separated at birth? 

While they're perfect for intimate gatherings of 2-10 (you'll need more than a dozen for numbers above 6), it's perfectly acceptable to shuck a dozen for yourself, open a bottle of sake, and rewatch season 3 of the Gilmore Girls. We recommend that you do that. If you don't already know how, once you learn to shuck them--so much easier than anyone lets on--there's no going back. Like riding a bike, you can use the invaluable skill as often or as infrequently as you like. We hope you'll make like a Chicago voter and do it early and often. 

This mignonette is inspired by the clean flavors found in certain styles of Japanese cuisine. Bright rice vinegar and crisp cucumber offset the richness of the oyster and sesame oil, while sweet and salty come together enhancing the experiencing of the single bite. 

Oysters with Cucumber Mignonette

1/2 Persian cucumber
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
12 oysters

Dice the cucumber very finely and combine with the vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the sesame oil.

Shuck the oysters, top with a touch of cucumber mignonette, and enjoy with chilled sake.