Sharon Reid

 

I recently tried oysters for the very first time; up until just over a week ago I have managed to swerve oysters, there was no rhyme or reason for my avoidance, as a committed pescatarian I’m usually enthralled by most fish and seafood, but oysters never seemed too appealing – I can only put this down to the slimy texture and the way you have to swallow, which for someone like me with bad gag reflexes it was never going to end well. However, the oysters I tried were divine, the fact that said oysters were freshly caught from the Mediterranean sea and were devoured against a back drop of resting boats and yachts in southern Spain’s Santa Pola Harbour, certainly helped with my gag anxiety. Would I try this delicacy again? Hell yeah! – Starting with this delicious Poached Jersey Oysters recipe courtesy of Michelin Star Chef Steve Smith, from Jersey’s award winning Bohemia restaurant.

In addition to this recipe, Steve has kindly provided full advice on preparing oysters; including the correct way to open large oysters, the timing could not be better as oyster season is upon us – September -April.

Steve Smith - Bohemia

Steve Smith – Bohemia

Opening Large Oysters

  • When working with large oysters, that are too big to fit snugly in the palm of the hand, start by laying them on a cloth on the work surface with another cloth on top. (The curved shell should be underneath)
  • Insert the oyster-knife point as close to the hinge as possible. Work it in to a depth of about 2 cm.
  • Once the knife is in, pick up the oyster so the rounded shell sits in the flat of the hand. Twist the knife downwards and inwards to loosen the two shells and separate them at the hinge.
  • The meat is attached to the top shell by an adductor muscle. Move the blade along the top (flat) shell and loosen the oyster from it without cutting into the fleshy part.
  • At this point oyster and oyster juices will sit in the rounded shell as though in a cup. Discard the flat shell.

Washing oysters and clarifying the juices

  • As you open each muscle empty the juices into a bowl, expect about 200ml of juice from 10-12 large oysters.
  • Pass the juice through the finest sieve and reserve.
  • Rinse the oysters in this juice to remove any grit or traces of shell.
  • Take them out of this liquid and reserve.
  • Sieve the juice again and store for the sauce, the poaching emulsion and the oyster mayonnaise – about 350ml in all.

Oyster Velouté Recipe

 Serves 8

Ingredients:

60g finely diced shallots

100ml Noilly Prat

100g Oyster Juices

120g Fresh Oysters

200ml Double Cream

200ml Crème Fraîche

40ml Chardonnay Vinegar

Lemon Juice and Salt to taste

Method:

Put the shallots and Noilly Pratt into a medium-sized pan. Reduce by half over a gentle heat so that the shallots become transparent.

Add half of the oyster juice and half the oysters.

Bring back to the boil and reduce by a quarter.

Add double cream and crème fraîche then bring back to the boil, take off the heat and blend.

Return to the pan and add the remaining oyster juices and oysters. Bring to the boil and take off the heat.

Add Chardonnay vinegar and blend.

Pass the sauce through a fine sieve.

Add lemon and salt as necessary.

Oyster Emulsion:      

20g Seaweed butter

60g Finely sliced shallots

100ml Noilly Prat

120g Raw Oyster

100ml Oyster juice

40ml Champagne vinegar

200ml Double cream

200ml Crème Fraîche

A Pinch of salt

Lemon juice

Method:

In a saucepan, combine the shallots and Noilly Prat. Reduce by half over a medium heat. Add half the oysters and oyster juice and reduce by 1/4. Add the cream and crème fraîche, cover in cling film and leave to steep for 20 minutes.

Add the remaining oyster, juice and the seaweed butter. Place in a blender and blend till smooth. Pass through a chinois and add the vinegar. Season with salt and a little lemon juice if required.

Oyster Poaching Liquid:

100 ml Champagne

100ml Oyster juice

25g Seaweed butter

Method:

Warm all the ingredients to 62°C.

Oyster tapioca:

50g cooked tapioca

50ml oyster veloute

2 tbspn finely chopped cucumber

1 tbspn finely chopped fennel cress/dill

5-10ml  Yuzu juice

Salt

Method

Warm the oyster veloute and tapioca, mix thoroughly. Allow to cool. Add all the other ingredients and season.

Cucumber pickle:

1/4 cucumber finely diced

2 normal shallots finely chopped

1 tbspn chopped dill/fennel

3 tbspn white balsamic vinegar

Method:

Place the cucumber into a vac bag with the vinegar and vac on the highest setting. Open straight away and drain the vinegar. Lay on a blue cloth to drain for a few minutes.

Place in a small bowl and mix in the shallot and fennel fronds. Keep at room temperature.

Place a little pickle on each oyster when serving.

 

Enjoy!