Homemade smoked oysters.
How have I not done this before? I mean, considering I’ve owned a hot smoker for over a year now.
But do you know what? You don’t even need to possess a smoker to do them at home.
Got a wok? Well then there’s half of your smoker. Grab one of those bamboo steamer lids from an Asian grocer – big enough to snuggly fit on your wok – and a small round rack that’ll fit in the bottom.
I used to do the wok-smoking method ages ago – see it here where I smoked a chunk of salmon.
As for the oysters, I’ve gone with unshucked as they open naturally from the heat in the smoker. The shell just needs to be thoroughly scrubbed to lose the grit and loose fragments of shell.
It takes a few minutes before you hear a hissing sound as the water inside the oyster heats and starts to escape.
And then pop!
Well, it doesn’t really pop – it’s just the oyster telling you it’s hinge has packed it in.
This is when the smoking action begins. Once they’re open the smoke can fill the cavity and start to flavour the oyster. Do this for about 10 minutes and you’re done!
Once they’re out of the smoker and removed from the shell, I’ve bathed them in a combination of virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and vinegar.
My first preparation was serving the smoked oysters in their shells, lightly drizzled with the marinade and topped with bits of blood orange and Turkish pul biber (also called Aleppo pepper). Oh, can’t forget a little greenery in the form of nasturtium and native violet leaves snipped from in front of my house.
Nice little bite from the pepper and tangy sweetness from the orange.
Another thing I did was serve them over a pureé of celeriac, parsley and seasoning, some toasted pumpernickel, pul biber and baby garlic chives.
I did the same kind of thing in some small handmade Chinese soup spoons I’ve had for years. I reckon a scattering of fried shallots would have done it some good, as well. A bit of crunch, you know? Perfect for a cocktail shindig, don’t you think?
All that’s missing is a chilled glass of bubbles or a dry white vino – oh and perhaps someone to help you eat them!