I’m somewhat of a purist when it comes to seafood. For the most part, a good rule tends to be that if the seafood is excellent, one should do as little as possible to it – it’s perfect as it is.
When it comes to the words ‘cooking’ and ‘oysters’, I tend not to stray far from eating them straight up or with a simple vinaigrette of eschalot and red wine vinegar. While fresh oysters are one of life’s great pleasures, winter calls for a slighter cosier twist.
For those who are novices at shucking oysters at home, this is a great way to start. By roasting the oysters whole, their little lids almost pop themselves open, making great practice for when summer rolls around once again.
(Serves 2 as an entree)
½ a leek, washed thoroughly
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
A dozen Sydney rock oysters, unshucked
500g rock salt for roasting
2 teaspoons lapsang souchong tea leaves
Pedro Ximinez vinegar
Preheat an oven to 190C. Tear a sheet of aluminium foil and place the leeks on it, folding up the sides slightly.
Pour in the olive oil and white wine and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil into an airtight parcel and roast the leeks in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and once cool enough to handle, slice the soft leeks into rings (if they break apart, that’s ok – you’re after the sweetness!).
Pour the rock salt onto a baking tray and sprinkle the tea leaves on top. Nestle the oysters, deep side down, on to the salt. Place the oysters in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove, and using a tea towel to hold the oyster, use a shuck (or oyster knife) to lever into the hinge and without too much effort, the lid should just pop off. Run the shucker across the inside of the top shell to loosen the oyster from the shell and try to retain the seawater contained within.
To serve: Place the oysters on a plate, top with a little of the soft leeks, a drop of PX vinegar and a drop of olive oil.
• Recipe by Melissa Leong, www.fooderati.blogspot.com