Eating raw oysters ia an invigorating experience. You can almost taste the elements the contain: zinc, calcium, copper and iodine, and no other food conjures up the essence of the sea in edible form more than a salty, tangy oyster. Cooking them by poaching, grilling or deep-frying can temper their salty taste and intensify the creaminess of the flavour.
When shopping for oysters, they should smell briny-fresh. The shells should be clean, bright, tightly-closed and unbroken. They can be bought throughout the year but are usually better outside of their spawning period, during the autumn and winter months when the waters are cold. The remoulade sauce which tastes great served on top of the crisp deep fried oyster is a French recipe very similar to Tartare sauce.
FOR THE REMOULADE SAUCE
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 pinch caster sugar
1 pinch salt
250ml peanut or sunflower oil
1 hard boiled egg
2 very finely diced gherkins
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil)
1 salted anchovy fillet (crushed to a paste)
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the mustard, vinegar and sugar.
- Whisk and slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl, allowing it to emulsify with the yolks until all the oil in incorporated.
- Season the mayonnaise with salt to taste.
- Peel the boiled egg and pass through a fine sieve.
- Mix the sieved egg along with the gherkin, herbs and anchovy into the mayonnaise.
- Place in a clean bowl covered with cling film and store in the fridge until ready to use.
FOR THE OYSTERS AND FRESH YEAST BATTER
Small bag continental mixed leaves (washed and dried)
24 fresh rock oysters
110g plain flour plus extra for flouring oysters
15g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast)
- Set the deep fat fryer to max 180°c – 200°c
- Open the oysters with an oyster knife being careful not to damage the flesh.
- Rinse the oysters in their own liquid to remove the shell and place into a container, straining the liquid over them through a fine sieve.
- Trim the shells to a neat and even finish with a pair of scissors and boil them in a pan for 10 minutes to sterilise.
- Warm the beer to blood temperature being careful not to exceed 36°c or the yeast will die.
- Crumble the yeast into a bowl and gradually whisk in the beer until smooth.
- Add the flour while mixing to make a smooth batter, dust very lightly with a little flour, cover with cling film and leave to prove at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- Dry the oysters on a clean towel and lightly dust them with the flour.
- Dip each oyster into the batter so that they are fully coated and carefully drop into the hot fryer until golden brown and crispy.
- Drain on fresh kitchen towel. Lightly season each oyster with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- Dress the salad with a light vinaigrette and place a little into each shell with an oyster, and top with a little of the remoulade sauce.
- Serve immediately.