36 shucked fresh oysters, in their bottom shells with their juices
Cheesecloth for making 6 lemon wraps
Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish
Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce, optional* dipping sauce (Use your favorite cocktail or mignonette sauce)
Lemon wraps keep seeds out of the lemon juice and direct it onto the food rather than into your dinner partner’s eyes. Make 6 lemon wraps by first rolling the 3 lemons on the countertop or other hard surface, pressing down with the heel of your hand to release the juices. Cut each lemon in half. Place each half, cut side down, on a 4-inch square of cheesecloth. Gather the cheesecloth up above the lemon half and tie the cloth with a bit of string.
Fill each of six shallow soup plates or tin pie plates with a 3/4-inch layer of crushed ice. Position a small cup for a dipping sauce in the center of each plate and arrange 6 raw oysters in their shells around it. Place each soup or pie plate of oysters on a large dinner plate. Garnish each serving with a lemon wrap and a sprig or two of parsley. Serve with saltine crackers and, if desired, butter pats, as well as a bottle of optional Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce.
Yields 6 servings.