Paul Mercurio's oysters five ways
I am not a huge fan of Oysters Au Naturale and have no idea whatsoever how people can knock back a dozen or two of the fresh little buggers in the one sitting.
The most I can take in their fresh naked form is three – that’s it, not one more can pass my lips unless it is cooked or flavoured up in some way – hence Oysters five ways. Of course you can add a sixth by doing the good old classic Kilpatrick – sliced or diced bacon on top of the raw oyster, a splash of Worcestershire and under a hot grill till the bacon is cooked, followed by a turn or two of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice!
I have done a couple of recipes using beer, which work a treat, but the question is what to drink with these minerally molluscs? For me a nice crisp clean pilsner would be the go so the hop bitterness can cut through the mineral character and the malt profile complements the sweetness of the oyster and the other ingredients.
That said I would be more than happy to sit down with Oysters six ways and one raw one washing it all down with a bottle of Beechworth Chevalier Saison. Enjoy!
Fresh oysters with a beer vinaigrette dressing
1 cup of Belgian fruit beer – Kriek, Fromboise, Fruits De La Foret
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
Finger lime roe
Put a cup of beer and the sugar into a pan over gentle heat and reduce down to about 1/8 of a cup. Put this into a mixing bowl and when cooled whisk in an equal volume of vegetable oil ie – if you have ¼ cup of beer whisk in ¼ of oil, 3 tbls beer to 3 tbls of oil etc Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives. Spoon some vinaigrette over a fresh oyster garnish with some finger lime pulp and eat.
Stout battered oysters
1 tablespoon Plain Flour
3 tablespoons Rice Flour
Coopers Best Extra Stout, Red Hill Imperial, Mountain Goat Rare Breed Surefoot Stout – you get the point a big yummy craft brewed stout! etc
Make a beer batter by putting the flour into a bowl add a pinch of salt (and any other herbs or spices you want) and then add in some of the stout. I like Coopers Stout because it is a big beer with lots of flavour and bitterness but then Red Hill and Mountain Goat are brilliant too. You could use Guinness if you wanted as that goes great with oysters also. The secret of getting a really good crispy result is to have the batter as cold as possible so make it in a bowl over another bowl filled with ice. Also don’t overwork the batter you don’t need to. Make the batter as thick or thin as you prefer.
Dip the oyster into the batter, let the excess drain off for about half a second and then drop the oyster into some hot vegetable or peanut oil. Fry until golden then remove from the oil drain on some absorbent paper and then put the oyster back into its shell for serving.
Salt and pepper oysters with a Mediterranean salsa
Salt and freshly ground black Pepper
1 tbls very finely diced red onion
1 tbls of very finely chopped kalamata olives
1 tbls of finely chopped tomato flesh only – peel the tomato, deseed and reserve some juice
In a bowl put a couple of tbls spoons of rice flour and then a generous pinch of salt and pepper and give it all a mix. Dredge oysters in flour and dust off excess flour then fry in veg or peanut oil until coloured and crisp. Remove from the oil drain on some absorbent paper and put oyster back in the shell. Mix all the ingredients for the salsa together and place a tsp full of the salsa on top of each oyster. Spoon a little of the reserved tomato liquid over the salsa.
Stout Mornay Oysters
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons plain (all-purpose) flour
60 ml (4 fl oz/¼ cup) milk
60 ml (4 fl oz/¼ cup) stout
25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) grated cheddar cheese
25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven grill (broiler) to high.
To make the stout mornay sauce, first make a roux by heating the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam, then gradually add the flour, stirring well as you do. Let this mixture cook for a few minutes, continuing to stir—this will cook the flour taste out of it. Make sure you do not colour the roux by cooking it over too high a heat. Next, slowly whisk in the milk so that it combines well with the roux, then gradually whisk in the stout. If the sauce is too thick and you need to add more liquid, add in equal amounts of beer and milk. You want the sauce to have a consistency a bit like thick pouring custard and keep in mind that when you add the cheeses the sauce will thicken a little more. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, add the cheeses and mix through so that they melt into the sauce, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
Using half the oysters, spoon some of the mixture over each oyster, making sure they are completely covered so the oyster steams itself inside the mornay mix. Place under the grill and cook until the tops are nicely browned.
Soy and Sake Oysters
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons roughly crushed wasabi peas
1 dozen of the freshest oysters you can get
To make the soy and sake sauce, mix the soy and sake together and spoon over the remaining half a dozen oysters. Place a generous pinch of lemon zest on each oyster and then a pinch of the crushed wasabi peas.
Tip: Put the peas on just before eating the soy and sake oysters or else they will soak up the soy and sake dressing and become soft. The wasabi peas offer a textural crunch that complements the softness of the oyster and also add a little bit of that Japanese heat that complements the soy.
Eat and enjoy. These mini recipes are each enough for six oysters, so if serving a dozen of each just double the mixtures.