There’s something undeniably indulgent about supping on a slippery oyster, and as the season of celebration kicks off we reckon it’s time to officially welcome in the bivalve feast. So we checked in with some of our favourite chefs around town to get their take on the best ways to serve oysters this summer. Though by all accounts, it’s hard to go past a simple squeeze of zesty lemon and an accompanying glass of bubbles when the oysters are this good. But for those of us wanting to dress it up, here are some of our favourite options.
Frank Camorra – MoVida: Freshly Shucked Oysters with Cava Dressing
“Oysters and sparkling wine are a match made in heaven. Why not use a Spanish rosé cava as the dressing?”
• 2 gelatin sheets
• 200ml rosé cava
• 1 sprig of fresh thyme
• 30g sugar
• 250g rock salt
• 250g fine salt
• 12 unshucked oysters
• extra virgin olive oil to dress
Method: In a small saucepan, heat the cava, thyme and sugar over a medium heat for a minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Place gelatin sheets in 200ml of cold water and leave for two minutes or until soft. Squeeze out the excess water. Add the gelatin to the infused cava and whisk until dissolved. Strain the infused cava through a fine sieve into a small 18cm x 13cm plastic tray. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate overnight. In a bowl, mix the two salts together with 80ml of water. Make a bed of salt on a serving plate.
Shuck the oysters.
Arrange the oysters on the bed of salt. Scramble the jelly with a fork and spoon a little over each oyster. Drizzle a scant amount of olive oil over each and serve with a glass of cava.
Neil Perry – Rockpool: Steamed Pacific Oysters with Mirin and Soy
"The great thing about this recipe is that the sauce is so adaptable – perfect on these oysters, also great on steamed fish or fried food, or even over a noodle salad. The flavours are clean and fresh and perfect for hot summer days."
• 12 large freshly shucked Pacific oysters
• 3 long green shallots, finely sliced
• ½ cup mirin
• 3 tbls rice wine vinegar
• 3 tbls light soy sauce
• 1 small knob ginger, finely sliced
• 4 small red eschalots, finely sliced
Method: In a small pot, mix together the sauce ingredients and warm slightly. Set aside. Put the oysters (in their half shell) into a steamer basket with the lid on and steam for 2 minutes to just heat through.
Arrange the oysters on a large plate and spoon a little of the sauce over each one. Sprinkle with the sliced eschalot and serve immediately.
Richard Ptacnik – Otto: Oysters with Diced Pickled Cucumber, Salmon Roe and Chives
“This simple dressing is an excellent complement to the flavour of the oysters. The pickled cucumber combined with the salmon roe and the chives adds a refreshing note to the oysters and the colours look beautiful. The oysters we’re using at Otto are Tathra oysters. These are supplied straight from the farm by Gary Rodley and the flavour and quality are amazing.”
• diced fresh cucumber
• chardonnay vinegar
• salmon roe
• freshly shucked oysters
• chives, finely sliced
Method: Pickle the cucumber using chardonnay vinegar. To do this, finely dice the cucumber, place it into enough chardonnay vinegar to cover it, cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Leave the mixture to sit for at least an hour. Then simply mix equal quantities of the pickled diced cucumber with salmon roe and dress each of your oysters with it. Finish with a sprinkle of chives.
Steve Skelly – The Sailors Club: Oysters with Cucumber, Chervil, Vermouth & White Balsamic
This one is all about serving it as soon as the flavours have been mixed together. It comes recommended from Skelly for its “fresh summer flavours”.
• a small bunch of fresh chervil
• white balsamic
Method: Cut the cucumber in half. Peel and cut into 1cm thin strips. Sit in a mixing bowl with finely chopped, fresh chervil. Add vermouth and a splash of white balsamic. Taste and adjust the flavours to your palate, then sprinkle the dressing over freshly shucked oysters and serve post haste.
Michael Milkovic – love.fish: Sydney Rock Oysters with Green Apple Jelly & Young Ginger
“This combination highlights the oyster's natural sweetness and adds some interesting textures and flavours without overpowering the natural taste of the oyster.”
• freshly shucked oysters
• 60ml apple cider
• 80ml green apple juice
• 40ml white balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbls finely chopped eschalot
• 1 sheet of gelatin
Method: Combine the cider, apple juice, white balsamic and eschalot in a bowl and set aside. Soak 1 sheet gelatin in cold water for 2 minutes. Remove the gelatin and add to 40ml hot water. Dissolve. Add the apple mix to the gelatin and combine with a whisk. Set in the fridge for 2 hours.
To dress the oysters:
• 1 tbsp young ginger juice
• julienne green apple
• micro herb celery
• black pepper
To assemble each oyster: Shuck your rock oysters. Place ½ teaspoon of jelly under oyster and 1/3 teaspoon of jelly on top. Add 3 slivers julienne green apple, 2 drops ginger juice, 1 stem micro celery and a crack of pepper to finish.