Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Oyster bay

My parents adored oysters. Any chance they could, they'd be ordering them by the dozen and savouring their fleshy saltiness. I used to regularly do a mock vomit when this happened. One day, when I was about 16, curiosity got the better of me, and I tried one. Never looked back. My husband doesn't eat them. This works well for us, because when we go to the Sheraton seafood buffet, we both get a plateful and I get to eat both, without looking like an oyster hog. 

Personal preference for me is natural, with a squeeze of lemon and a quick grind of black pepper. But when I feel like being a bit more posh, here's a few of my alternatives... 

Most important, is find a good-quality fishmonger, and be prepared to drive for a bit to get to a good one. Some of the supermarkets are upscaling and have a reasonable fresh seafood section. My venue of choice is Aussie Seafood House at Lawnton. 

Oysters with grapefruit and gin

Super easy. Cut up thin slivers of ruby grapefruit and place on the oyster. Spoon over half a teaspoon of gin. Top with a few finely chopped chives and black pepper.

Oysters with creme fraiche and salmon roe

In a bowl, mix together ½ cup creme fraiche or sour cream,
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, 2 teaspoons horseradish, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top each oyster with a spoonful of this mixture. This makes up quite a bit so you'll easily have enough for a couple of dozen.

Top oysters with salmon roe (you can buy this at good quality delis or at your fishmonger). Serve with lemon wedges.

Oysters with soy dipping sauce

Mix together half a cup of soy sauce and mirin. Pour into tiny individual bowls and serve on the plate with the oysters. Delicate and super tasty.

Oysters with finger limes

Cut a Lebanese cucumber in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice finely. Mix together one tablespoon of caster sugar, one teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of rice vinegar. Add the cucumber to the bowl and leave for 30 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess moisture (I use paper towels).

Whiz up the cucumbers in a blender with a splash of olive oil until they're light and creamy then pop it in the fridge to get really cold.

Get two finger limes and roll them on your bench until the bits inside them loosen and feel a bit squishy. Cut in half cross-wise and gently squeeze out the little pearls.

Add a drop or two of mirin to each oyster, then top with cucumber mixture and finger lime pearls. It is almost mandatory that you serve this with champagne.