Slurping on fresh oysters is one of summer’s great pleasures – or horrors, depending on your point of view on these polarising little creatures. Stylist & cook Jono Fleming prepares oysters 5 ways, so you can pick the flavours that take your fancy, or serve up a selection and let your guests decide.
My favourite way to eat oysters is freshly shucked, with just a squeeze of lemon. But it pays to be a bit inventive with flavour – these simple dressing and toppings will be a pretty and tasty addition to your party, and might encourage even the most oyster-averse to give them a try. Each of these recipes makes enough for about half a dozen oysters. I assembled and served all my oysters on a bed of rock salt, mainly just to stabilise them. You can use crushed ice instead, with the added bonus of keeping the oysters chilled on the table or tray.
Japanese sauces mixed with pickled ginger add a fresh twist to the oyster, and the fish roe gives little bursts of flavour and looks beautiful on the plate.
Pickled Japanese ginger, sliced into strips (the pink kind found at sushi restaurants)
Ponzu dressing (found at Asian grocers or some seafood stores)
Salmon or trout roe (found at the fish markets or seafood stores, often sold in little jars)
To each oyster, add a few tiny pieces of the sliced pickled ginger and a small quantity of roe, then top with a few drops of the ponzu dressing.
Gin & Tonic
A grown up option for an already grown up ingredient. The gin and tonic topping is exactly what it sounds like, a perfect start to a great meal ahead.
Chilled tonic water
1 baby cucumber, finely sliced into rounds
Lemon to serve
To each oyster, add a few drops of gin, about 1/8 of a teaspoon, and the same amount of tonic water. Top with a slice or two of cucumber and a squeeze of lemon. Serve cold.
A traditional dressing for raw oysters, the vinegar and lemon combination adds the perfect balance to accompany the fresh oysters.
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
one eschallot, very finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
a squeeze of lemon
Mix all ingredients together and serve in a small bowl on the side
This topping has definite zing, due to the chilli sauce. Substituting the tanginess of vinegar with fresh ginger will add a little kick to your oyster.
Sriracha chilli sauce
Roughly 2cm size piece of ginger, minced (using a microplane grater makes this easy work)
Half a lime
To each oyster, add a drop or two of the Sriracha chilli sauce (available at most supermarkets or Asian grocers), a pinch of the minced ginger and a squeeze of lime.
An Australian classic! I substituted prosciutto for bacon to give it a slightly lighter edge.
1 cup rock salt
1-2 slices of prosciutto, diced
A few sprigs of parsley, leaves finely chopped
Lemon wedges to serve
Preheat your oven on the grill setting.
Pour rock salt into a baking tray and arrange the oysters on top. The salt will help keep them upright.
Add the prosciutto and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce on to each oyster.
Grill for 5-8 minutes or until the prosciutto is crispy, sprinkle with parsley and serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze on top.