Oysters with a difference

I love oysters, they are one of my all time favourite things. Chesil Smokery supply the non native “Rock” or Pacific oyster; healthy, large, tasty, sustainable and totally delicious. Unlike their smaller native cousins, you can eat these all year round. Lots of people do not like oysters though, they present a little too much of a challenge to many people. That is why I often cook with oysters as well as serving them raw, here I have steamed them with a little cider, soy, ginger and chilli to make a light but enjoyable broth – the perfect way to get even the most oyster shy of folk into giving them a go. What you might call a bit of ‘Tim ne sait quoi’

Serves 2 or 4 as an opening course.

8 rock oysters

 1 clove of garlic – peeled and sliced

1/2 inch of ginger root – peeled and shredded

1 stick of lemon grass

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ pint sweet cider

1 whole star anise

2 spring onion – washed and sliced.

1 fresh red chilli

A few drops of rape seed oil

Simplicity itself this recipe is a “one pan wonder” and can easily be make into more or a meal by the simple addition of a few noodles to the broth.

Stack the oysters in a pan with a tight-fitting lid and add the cider, lemon grass, and star anise. Put the lid on the pan and place on a high heat. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. The Oyster shells may not pop open like clams but trust that they will be ready after this time.

Remove the oysters and their shells from the broth and leave them on a plate or dish nearby to cool just a little. Pass the broth through a fine sieve to remove the lemon grass, shell shards and star anise. Put the broth into a clean, small saucepan and simmer. Add some soy to taste, along with the garlic and ginger.

Meanwhile, gently open the oysters reserving any juices inside and place the cooked meats on a small plate. Add any liquid to the broth making sure it is not too salty. Now, turn off the broth and divide the cooked oysters between serving dishes. Garnish the oysters with chopped spring onion, sliced red chilli and a little rape seed oil. Pour the hot broth over each dish and serve immediately.

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