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  • Writer's pictureJo Murray

Oysters - 4 Ways

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

There is nothing like finding a bargain while food shopping. Oysters were not on the shopping list but when I found them cheaper than normal they soon appeared on the menu planner. Obviously when buying the from the supermarket they already come shucked and ready to eat.

We decided to excite our taste buds by preparing 4 different toppings for these morsels from the sea. They were:

  • Vietnamese Dressing

  • Lime Wasabi Dressing with Pickled Ginger

  • Gorgonzola and Chilli Oil

  • Garlic Butter and Smoky Parmesan

The Vietnamese Dressing, a long time favourite of ours, is very simple to make and the flavours give all the simple elements of Asian cuisine - salty, spicy, sour, sweet, and bitter.

Something definitely packing a punch is the Lime Wasabi Dressing with Pickled Ginger. The lime combined with with Wasabi awakens your senses especially your nasal hair which is followed up by the somewhat sweet yet spicy pickled ginger.

Not for the faint hearted, only blue cheese lovers will like Gorgonzola and chilli oil. Placed under the grill and melted until bubbling over the oyster these are definitely a savoury delight.

And finally Garlic Butter and Smokey Parmesan - who doesn't love garlic butter? This combined with shavings of Parmesan cheese sprinkled with smokey paprika is intriguing and to me has a little Mexican feel to it.

To serve these delicate morsels, many people use sea salt flakes or salt granules but I am not a fan of using this as I find it a waste of product. Lets face it, not much you can do with salt that could be contaminated with oyster dressings. I use small patty cake trays during preparation and even, as you can see, serve on for an informal setting - they are the easiest way to keep the oysters upright to preserve the toppings. Not to mention they look a little different and guaranteed to spark a conversation.

As we sat down to eat after preparing, topping and cooking a dozen of these treats (the other dozen were served cold) I couldn't help think of the oyster scene in the original movie Alice in Wonderland (released by Disney in 1951.)

Oysters are one of those curious ingredients or is it that the oysters are the curious ones? One of my favourite parts in Alice in Wonderland is the scene of the Walrus and the Carpenter. Such a interesting poem written by Lewis Carroll.

'The Walrus and the Carpenter' is a narrative poem famous for the way it describes the idea of the cunningness, betrayal and death in human nature. Published in 1871, the poem explains how a Walrus and a Carpenter trick innocent young oysters to follow them only to be eaten after following the pair.

O Oysters, come and walk with us!'

The Walrus did beseech.

A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

To give a hand to each.'

The eldest Oyster looked at him,

But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

And shook his heavy head —

Meaning to say he did not choose

To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,

All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

Their shoes were clean and neat —

And this was odd, because, you know,

They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,

And yet another four;

And thick and fast they came at last,

And more, and more, and more —

All hopping through the frothy waves,

And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Walked on a mile or so,

And then they rested on a rock

Conveniently low:

And all the little Oysters stood

And waited in a row.

The time has come,' the Walrus said,

To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

And whether pigs have wings.'

But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,

Before we have our chat;

For some of us are out of breath,

And all of us are fat!'

No hurry!' said the Carpenter.

They thanked him much for that.

A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said,

Is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

Are very good indeed —

Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,

We can begin to feed.'

But not on us!' the Oysters cried,

Turning a little blue.

After such kindness, that would be

A dismal thing to do!'

The night is fine,' the Walrus said.

Do you admire the view?

It was so kind of you to come!

And you are very nice!'

The Carpenter said nothing but

Cut us another slice:

I wish you were not quite so deaf —

I've had to ask you twice!'

It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,

To play them such a trick,

After we've brought them out so far,

And made them trot so quick!'

The Carpenter said nothing but

The butter's spread too thick!'

I weep for you,' the Walrus said:

I deeply sympathize.'

With sobs and tears he sorted out

Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief

Before his streaming eyes.

O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,

You've had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?'

But answer came there none —

And this was scarcely odd, because

They'd eaten every one."

After hearing the recital of this tragic tale, presented by Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Alice attempts to determine which of the two leading characters might be the more sympathetic, but the twins' further questioning of Alex didn't assist with the situation.

"I like the Walrus best," said Alice: "because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters."

"He ate more than the Carpenter, though," said Tweedledee. "You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise."

"That was mean!" Alice said indignantly. "Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus."

"But he ate as many as he could get," said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, "Well! They were both very unpleasant characters"

— Through the Looking-Glass

Therefore, like the Walrus and the Carpenter, we lured these oysters (well brought them home) with the intent on eating them for lunch, especially on a nice sunny afternoon. Hmmm I wonder which one of us is the Walrus and which one is the Carpenter?

To be honest it was so nice to sit and relax together, just the two of us and feast on an unexpected treat.

Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing

Serves: 4

💚 2sp per serve

💙 1sp per serve

💜 1sp per serve

1 dozen oysters 2 tablespoons Kecap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce) 2 tablespoons dry sherry 1 teaspoon crushed ginger 1 teaspoon crushed chilli juice of 1/2 large lime (approx 1/4 cup) 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander 1 spring onion finely sliced

Clean and rinse oysters, refrigerate until ready to serve. Mix all ingredients except for the oysters in a small bowl or jug and refrigerate until ready to serve oysters. Before serving, divide dressing evening between oysters in their shells.

Serve immediately.

Lime Wasabi Dressing with Pickled Ginger

Serves: 24

💚 2sp per serve

💙 1sp per serve

💜 1sp per serve

2 dozen oysters

2 & 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon wasabi paste

1 & 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves

Combine all ingredients in jar; shake well.

Before serving, divide dressing evening between oysters in their shells.

Serve immediately.

Oysters with Gorgonzola and Chilli Oil

Serves: 12

💚 4sp per serve

💙 4sp per serve

💜 4sp per serve

1 dozen oysters

50 grams gorgonzola (or blue cheese of your choice)

1 tablespoon chilli oil

Preheat grill to highest setting.

Place oysters onto a grilling tray - I actually use a cupcake tray to hold the oysters upright.

Cut blue cheese into 12 pieces.

Place a piece of cheese onto each oyster.

Drizzle with chilli oil.

Cook under grill until cheese has melted and its bubbling.

Serve immediately.

Oysters with Garlic Butter and Smoky Parmesan

Serves: 12

💚 3sp per serve

💙 3sp per serve

💜 3sp per serve

12 oysters

20 grams Lurpak Garlic Butter

20 grams shredded Parmesan cheese

pinch of smoked paprika

Preheat grill to highest setting.

Place oysters onto a grilling tray - I actually use a cupcake tray to hold the oysters upright.

Divide butter between the 12 oysters.

Top each oyster with an even amount of Parmesan.

Sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Cook under grill until cheese has melted and its bubbling.

Serve immediately.

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