Tomorrow is a Leap Year, and the perfect excuse to celebrate Feb 29 with climate kind oysters.
We love oysters here at Charlie Big Potatoes. What’s not to love? They’re sustainable, nutritious and sensationally tasty.
Oysters are an integral element of a complicated aquaculture system that actually have a positive effect on the environments they grow in. Unlike farming fish, oyster farms do much more good than harm. No pesticides or antibiotics are used in oyster farming, nuh-uh, and no need to cut down great swathes of rainforest to grow them either. So we’re on a mission to eat them more often.
We splurged out and picked up a dozen of the most wonderful and huge oysters, grown and caught in Carlingford Lough, Ireland. Sourced by our friends The Mothershuckers in Hackney, curators of Great Britain’s best bivalves.
Find out more at their beautiful website, then delve into this trio of delectable recipes….
30mins + shucking | serves 4 | a little effort
1 dozen oysters, freshly shucked
Russian (to taste):
Nordic (per oyster):
½ tsp finely chopped apple
½ tsp finely chopped shallots
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
Green butter grilled (for 6 oysters):
6 tbsp pecorino cheese
75g unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, large
1 anchovy fillet in olive oil
small bunch parsley, just the leaves
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
It couldn’t be simpler for the Russian and Nordic dressings. Keep the oysters naked for the Russian version leaving eaters to dictate ratios and indeed leave naked if preferred, as many do. For the Nordic ones, mix all the ingredients together and spoon over the oysters just before serving on ice.
For the green butter grilled oysters, get the grill nice and hot and while it’s heating up, bung all the green butter ingredients bar the pecorino cheese in a food processor or mini blender and blitz until you’ve got a smooth puree. Set aside for a mo. Unusually, we don’t want the oyster liquor for this recipe but don’t waste the precious stuff, you can add it to a chowder or fish stew, or freeze until you’re making one. Reason being is that they will release a lot of their juices while they are under the grill, which risks an overspill of both the juices and the glorious butter, and that just won’t do.
Make sure the interior of the shell is free from all bits of broken shell and dirt and then divide your butter between the oysters. Depending on what you’ve got around, you might be able to put the oyster on a cooking rack in a baking tray so that they stay as upright and flat as possible. Aim of the game being to keep as much tasty goodness in the shells while their grilling as possible.
Under the grill they go for about 4mins but this really does depend on the size of your oysters, add another minute for larger ones. Remove from the grill to grate the pecorino over each oyster and put them back under for another minute, not even, for the cheese to melt into the sauce and mingle.
Carefully transfer to your chosen serving plate, watching out for the shells which are hotter than the sun, and serve with crusty bread for epic sauce dunking.
Happy shucking Leap Year 2016!
PS: Not a master shucker? Nor are we as the evidence shows! But we’re getting better as we go and it’s not difficult once you know what you’re doing. How to? Video from chief Mothershucker Theresa here.