Standing in a battered boat on a cold creek in the middle of winter might not be most people’s idea of fun, but I loved it. I was with Bill Pinney (that’s him, at the top), whose family has been farming oysters in Suffolk since just after World War Two. Bill is a mine of information, not just on oysters but on marine life in general and the art of smoking.
Anyone who’s ever visited the pretty estuarine town of Orford will know that Pinney’s is an institution, with both a restaurant and a shop selling the family’s smokehouse products. I went home with my interview for this month’s Suffolk magazine and a dozen juicy oysters.
This is what I did with them … try making both and eat them alternating hot and cold. The contrast is very appealing. Bill is somewhat sceptical about the aphrodisiac qualities of oysters so you can judge for yourself whether it’s any more stimulating than that. Either way, a great start to a meal, on Valentine’s Day or any other.
Raw Oysters with an Asian Dressing
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 small thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
The juice of 1 lime
2 -3 spring onions, finely chopped
Shuck the oysters, mix together the dressing ingredients and spoon a little over each oyster.
Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter
You’ll need an oven-proof frying pan with a thick layer of sea salt, to cook and serve
6 oysters, shucked
40g salted butter, room temperature
1 heaped tspn grated Parmesan
1 heaped tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
A grind of black pepper
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
Mix the butter with the Parmesan, parsley, cayenne, garlic, lemon juice and black pepper, place on a piece of cling film and wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Place in the freezer to firm up.
Heat the grill to high and nestle the shucked oysters in a bed of sea salt in a heat-proof pan. Slice the herb butter into six rounds and place one on each oyster.
Top with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and grill for 4-6 minutes, until the topping is browned and bubbling.
Oh dear. I’m not doing well at the moment. I really don’t ‘get’ oysters at all. It was quite awkward in France as they’re such a Christmas treat there and hard to avoid, so I really did try. But just ….. no.
Oh dear, I’m really not catering to yours tastes, sorry! Try Friday’s recipe, may be more up your street. 🙂
I think you don’t have to run your blog round me. I might not eat the oysters, but I enjoyed reading the post anyway.
So, something involving truffle honey next? 🙂 Thanks so much for sending it. Lxx
Oooh, has it arrived? Italian not Spanish. Half empty not half full. Don’t get the trades descriptions lot onto me.
Yes, I did say thanks on the other thread but you may have missed it – sorry, don’t have your email address. It was very good of you to go to the trouble of sending it, many thanks. x
Good afternoon Linda. A quick question regarding the Queen’s English versus American English and the hot oysters. When you say ‘grill’ should I think broil or are those grilled with the hood down or something. They look broiled, and fabulous. Thanks, as always…
Ah, yes, different nomenclature. You are correct, when Brits say grill, you chaps say broil. Hoods, bonnets. Purses, handbags. Tomay-to, tomah-to, let’s call the whole thing off. Oh let’s not. 🙂
Gorgeous and how fitting. Wonderful to have such a great source and family business on your doorstep – major admiration & envy coming your way along with some Happy Valentine’s Day wishes. n xx
I know, we’re very lucky in our local producers and Pinney’s are the best of the best. Thanks for the V-Day wishes … big hugs and kisses to you too. Lx
I looooove fresh oyster but as soon as you cook them I’m out, totally changes the delicious flavour and texture in my book. Hope you had a romantic St Vs day…
I like them both ways … I love raw oysters with no more than a spritz of lemon juice, but I like them lightly grilled, too. I find people who baulk at raw oysters will often eat them cooked. Horses for courses!
… but I know a lot of people agree with you. Happy Valentine’s either way! 🙂
Reblogged this on a-single-serving.com and commented:
As you know I’m an oyster fan–both these look just too good not to reblog the recipes for other oyster lovers!
Thanks so much, that’s really kind. Lx
Lovely. I think I’ve only eaten oysters with the ‘down the hatch’ approach which always seems a bit daft. Love the look of these ones and it would be nice to actually taste them. It looks nice and calm out on that boat too (says she, halfway through half-term…)
Thank you. It was very peaceful, Jane, nothing but adults and non-human wildlife … 🙂
Bliss… *looks at clock and reaches for the gin*