Battered oysters with fennel and pear salad

Battered oysters with fennel and pear salad

By
From
Nuovo Mondo
Makes
6
Photographer
Alan Benson

Jim: A nicely battered oyster can be quite special. Coupled with a lovely salad, it is fun to eat and exciting to taste. When I was suddenly plunged into a job as head chef, I was constantly trying to find exciting dishes that were both great in flavour and cost effective. This dish ticks both boxes. Because the oyster is cooked it doesn’t have to be freshly shucked. This recipe is designed as an antipasto, two oysters per portion. For a starter, allow half a dozen oysters per diner.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g salt
12 oysters, on the half shell
100g rice flour
100g plain flour
500ml iced water
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 baby fennel, julienned
1 nashi pear, peeled, cored and cut into matchstick batons

Red wine vinaigrette

Quantity Ingredient
50ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 bunch chives, snipped

Method

  1. Combine the salt and 3 tablespoons water in a bowl to make ‘wet salt’.
  2. Remove the oysters from their shells. Refrigerate the oysters until needed, and rinse and reserve the shells for serving.
  3. To make the red wine vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, olive oil and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool, then stir in the chives and set aside.
  4. To make a batter, combine the flours in a medium-sized bowl, reserving a little plain flour for dusting the oysters. Add the iced water and a pinch of salt, and mix very gently. The batter should be lumpy – pockets of flour are great for this batter.
  5. Preheat the oil to 180°C in a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan. Test the oil by dropping a little batter in it – if it sizzles furiously it is hot enough.
  6. Dust the oyster meat first in the reserved plain flour, then dip into the batter. Deep-fry the oysters, in batches, until crisp and light golden.
  7. To serve, place 12 mounds of the wet salt on a serving plate and arrange an oyster shell over each mound.
  8. Divide the fennel and pear between the shells, drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette. Place an oyster on top and serve.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Stefano:

  • I am so fond of oysters I dream of eating several dozen in one sitting; only decorum prevents me from doing so! freshly shucked oysters are good with eggs. Scramble eggs in a little butter until barely set and spoon a dollop over as many oysters as you like. A few salmon eggs or – bliss if you can afford it – a little caviar on top will finish it off perfectly. I like a dry prosecco to drink with this as it is mellow and the bubbles are not too intrusive. What is appealing about this little dish is the extraordinary contrast between the briny, salty, cold oyster and the hot, soft, gooey eggs topped with the fish eggs that burst in the mouth.

Tags:
Stefano
de
Pieri
Jim
James
McDougall
Italian
Italy
European
Mediterranean
Stefanos
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