Steamed Oysters, Southern Style
prep time: 30 - 45 minutes to make a fire and get good coals
cook time: 8 minutes
serves: as many as you have oysters for!
Fresh unshucked oysters
Thick metal BBQ plate
2 x Hessian Sacks
Fresh water (not sea water)
Horseradish + Tabasco Sauce
Homemade saltine crackers (see recipe below)
Once you have built a fire and have hot coals, make a sturdy base for the BBQ plate over the coals using the bricks. Place the plate on top and allow the plate to heat up for a minute or two (it will be ready when a splash of water dropped on the plate immediately sizzles).
Place the oyster shells, flat side up, on the hot plate. Dip the hessian bags in the cold, fresh water and place over the top of the oysters. Allow the oysters to steam for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, their shells should pop open. Transfer the oysters to a plate and serve at once with a saltine cracker, a small dollop of horseradish and a drop of Tabasco sauce.
Homemade Saltine Crackers
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
140 g / 1 cup flour
2 tbs butter
90 – 100ml water
1/2 tsp salt
Extra flaked sea salt for sprinkling the tops
Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
In a food processor, pulse together the butter and flour until the butter has turned to bread crumb consistency. Alternatively, rub butter into flour using finger tips.
Slowly add the water until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough and a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out until it is 3-4 mm thick. Be sure to pick the dough up and turn midway through rolling, sprinkling extra flour underneath to avoid sticking to the surface.
Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into little rectangles (approx. 3 x 4cm) and place on a baking paper lined tray.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Leave to cool (they get crispier as they cool down).
Serve with oysters as above or with cheese or dip. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Blood Orange Mignonette
cook time: 10 minutes
makes: approx 1 cups mignonette for 2 dozen fresh oysters
serves: 8 as a starter
1 small red onion, finely diced
½ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
½ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about one large orange)
freshly ground black pepper
Combine onion, vinegar, orange juice and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk together until combined. Serve over freshly shucked oysters (two teaspoons per oyster a good amount!)
Stinging Nettle Butter
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 5 minutes
makes: approx 250g butter
I found a good bunch of stinging nettle leaves on my drive between Berry and Kangaroo Valley. However they seem to thrive anywhere where there is a little moisture in the ground and cool shelter from the trees. To forage the leaves, you will need gloves, scissors and a bag to carry them in. The barbs on their leave sting - a lot! Try to aim for the young leaves that grow on the top part of the plant. If they have flowers, they are too old. In Australia, fresh, young nettles are best found at the end of August through to late November.
225 g cultured unsalted butter at room temperature (we used pepe saya butter)
2 cups loosely packed young wild stinging nettle leaves
2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
½ tbs Dijon mustard
grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
50 mls fresh lemon juice
10g flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Using tongs, place the nettle leaves in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and blanch for 5-6 minutes. This blanching process removes the sting from the nettles. Drain and pat dry.
Place all ingredients, including the blanched nettle, into a food processor and blend together on high speed until the nettle has been chopped to fine pieces and the butter is smooth. Transfer the butter to a bowl. This butter pairs beautifully with fresh bread or roasted oysters.
If using on roasted oysters, place a small dollop (about one teaspoon) per shucked oyster and roast on a bbq plate over high heat until butter has melted and begins to bubble. For lightly cooked oysters 2-3 minutes, for well-cooked oysters, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.