This month, with half an eye on the 14th and its celebration, I have gone for oysters served in two delicious ways. We are so fortunate in Scotland to have such a widespread oyster farming industry and the quality is incredible. The fresh, clean waters of the Atlantic provide all the nutrients an oyster needs. Just think that with all the coves and rugged shoreline with big tides going in and out, the length of that shoreline in Argyll alone is longer than France and Spain's Atlantic coast put together!
Native oysters are in season just now and a few of the farms will also harvest them, but the farmed ones are also delicious. If you have never had an oyster, now is a good time to try them. For me the best way is to have them as they are with perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice. They are quite easy to open especially if you have a little gadget, called a “clic huitre” which you can buy online from Loch Fyne Oysters and your local fishmonger will show you how to open them.
For a romantic first course I have given you two ideas! For those a little nervous about eating a raw oyster you can try the poached oyster with cheese and for those a bit more adventurous try the chilli and ginger salsa with coriander.
For about 12 oysters
A table spoon of white wine
200 mls double cream
2 tblsp grated cheese a Mull Cheddar would be perfect
Pinch smoked paprika
For 12 oysters
1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
1 cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
Tsp lemon juice
2 tsp virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
Make sure the oyster is firmly closed before “shucking”.
Once opened it's best to release the oyster from the base shell so that when you eat it, it can just slide into your mouth.
Take care to remove any bits of broken shell with some kitchen paper, it's easy to get small bits when you shuck them.
Above all don’t just swallow in one! Give them a good chew and savour the flavours
Recipe by Christopher Trotter
Food photography by Caroline Trotter