- Bute St Seafoodie
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
"... oysters are the only food that never causes indigestion. Indeed, a man would have to eat sixteen dozen of these acephalous molluscs in order to gain the 315 grammes of nitrogen he requires daily."
Jules Verne (1870)
When I am not feeling at my best I crave oysters. I wonder whether it's the salinity, but it's more likely their huge nutritional content. Have a look at the article linked below from the Shellfish Association of Great Britain.
Oysters are produce of the sea that enjoy the rare combination of being both sustainable (see link) and available all year round.
I normally eat oysters raw, but here is a delicious departure from that norm, where the oysters are lightly cooked in a tempura batter. I would wager that nearly every non-oyster-but-likes-fish-eater would enjoy these. If memory serves me well, this was a recipe Rick Stein wrote with that very audience in mind. For how good it is, it is remarkably simple. Just make sure to use a brand new bottle of soda water that is ice-cold to make the batter work.
I am seemingly in good company in proposing that 4-6 oysters served with a glass of warmed sake makes a fabulous starter. Waitrose sell a sake that comes recommended, link below.
Ingredients (serves 2)
Oysters, 4-6 per person, shucked, juice discarded, round halves of the shell washed
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp plain flour
2 tbsp ice-cold soda water from a new bottle
1-2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
Pinch of salt
Sunflower oil for deep-frying
1 tbsp good quality Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp water
Juice from a quarter of a lime
Lime wedges, for serving
For the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce, water and lime juice. Pour into dipping bowls.
Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan until it reaches a temperature for deep-frying.
Meanwhile, put the two flours, the salt, the toasted sesame seeds and the soda water in a bowl and mix together with a spoon to form the batter.
Dip the oysters in the batter and drop into the oil. Cook for 1 minute until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper.
Serve the oysters in the reserved shells with the lime wedges and the dipping sauce.
Sawanotsuru Deluxe Sake: https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/sawanotsuru-deluxe-sake/062814-31885-31886
"Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey", Rick Stein (1999) pp. 84-85: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rick-Steins-Seafood-Odyssey-Stein/dp/0563551860
"The nutritional and healthy facts about shellfish: Oysters", Shellfish Association of Great Britain: http://www.shellfish.org.uk/files/Healthy-Eating/23063SAGB%20oyster%20factsheet%20final.pdf
Shellfish Association of Great Britain: http://www.shellfish.org.uk/
"Good Fish Guide", Marine Conservation Society: https://www.mcsuk.org/goodfishguide/search?name=Oyster%2C+Pacific%2C+oysters&mp=all&cm=all&tof=all&min=1&max=5