Thursday, 5 February 2015


“I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead.” - Woody Allen

I must say, that I agree with Woody Allen – eating a fresh oyster au naturel is not for me. I’ve seen people doing it and it seems that they swallow it whole, immediately it enters the mouth, rather than chew and savour it. If that is the case, gobbling it down seems to be a rapid engorgement to derive nutrients rather than enjoying the sensation of chewing, tasting and enjoying a tasty morsel of food…

I first tried oysters mornay only several years ago, but they were not cooked enough and I could still feel the slimy oyster, half-cooked in my mouth. That put me off oysters again. I then tasted an oyster Kilpatrick (which was well cooked) and I actually liked it. The next stage of my adventures with the Ostreidae was when I devised my own recipe, which finally allowed me to enjoy them greatly. So here is my recipe for Oysters à la Nicolas, which we have often and savour!

1 dozen oysters, freshly shucked, in their half shell
100 g tender, rindless, lean bacon, cut into small cubes
12 tsp Worcestershire sauce
12 tbsp homemade mayonnaise (no sugar please!)
Grated parmesan cheese

Prepare a grilling tray by coating with aluminium foil, crumpling it up so that it can receive the oyster shells without them tipping over.
Wash the oysters in cold water and place each drained oyster back in its shell. Arrange the oysters on the foil on the grilling tray.
Put a teaspoonful (or a little more, depending on your taste) of Worcestershire sauce on each oyster.
Add the cubed bacon to each oyster, covering the oyster flesh.
At this stage, I always place the oysters under the grill for a few minutes until they are semi-cooked, and the bacon a little browned. Remove from grill.
Add a tablespoonful of mayonnaise to each oyster in its shell, smoothing the top out.
Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over each oyster.
Return tray to grill and grill gently for a few minutes, until the parmesan is a golden brown colour and the mayonnaise has cooked. Watch this step carefully as it is easy to burn the whole thing up!
Serve with icy cold brut champagne. It is a remarkably filling dish and even if I am famished, I can only manage to eat 7-8 oysters and I feel sated. As an entrée, allow 3 oysters per person.

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