Oysters Hot and Cold

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

Image of oysters with asian dressing


6 oysters

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

Image of 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.

18 thoughts on “Oysters Hot and Cold

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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

  4. 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…)

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