This festive hors d'oeuvre is easy to make and impressive to serve. The herbs and prosciutto hint at Christmas colors while adding irresistible flavor. This recipe pairs beautifully with a light, crisp white wine such as Cavit's Pinot Grigio. You'll need an oyster knife to shuck the oysters, but it doesn't have to be a fancy one.
Scrub the oysters well under running water to remove all sand and dirt. To shuck each oyster, hold it in a kitchen towel with the cupped side of the shell facing down so you won't lose the beautiful liquor when you open it. Insert the tip of an oyster knife firmly into the hinge and twist until it pops open. Then run the knife across the inside of the top shell. Watch the video linked in the notes section below to see this done.
Run the oyster knife between the meat and the bottom shell to fully release the meat from the shell so it can be slurped up later. Place shucked oysters on a rimmed baking pan lined with a big sheet of gently crumpled aluminum foil to prevent tipping. Discard top shells.
In a small pot, melt the butter with the shallot over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil, parsley and lemon zest.
Line the bottom of a heavy 12-inch frying pan with about 1/4 inch of Kosher salt. (I really prefer a cast iron skillet for its superior heat retention). Preheat the pan over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes, until the salt starts to make some little popping noises. Then quickly arrange the shucked oysters in the pan and top each with a spoonful of the herb butter. Cover the pan with a lid (carefully use foil if you don't have a lid that fits) and cook for three minutes, until the oysters are just opaque. They'll continue to cook a bit from the residual heat in the pan. Sprinkle with a little bit of chopped prosciutto and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve warm straight from the pan.
Here's a little video that shows exactly how to shuck an oyster.