Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing.

Freshly shucked oysters like these pictured above can be served with a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Or you can really spruce them up with the below recipe, taken from Liam’s Basic Techniques & Methods of Cookery course, specifically the class on sauces & dressings. Note: always avoid pre-shucked oysters and only buy live oysters with the shells firmly shut. To open the oysters, a specially designed oyster knife is required. Oysters should be opened at the last moment, just before serving.

Sugar syrup
Makes 100ml
100 g Castor sugar
100 ml Water

Mix the sugar and water together in a heavy-based saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook for 3 minutes, skimming any scum that floats to the surface. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and allow to cool. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to use.

Vietnamese dressing
10ml Sesame oil
15g Shallots, finely chopped
15g Pickled ginger, chopped
10g Fresh ginger, chopped
¼ Small fresh chilli, seeds removed and chopped
35ml Rice wine vinegar
40ml Sugar syrup (see recipe above)
40ml Dashi
10ml Kikkoman light soy sauce
15ml Pickled ginger juice
10ml Nam pla
2 Fresh limes, juiced

12 Unshucked oysters
Maldon sea salt
50g Julienne of spring onion
50g Deep fried shallots
25g Baby coriander
4 Lime cheeks

Heat the sesame oil in a heavy-based pan and sweat the shallots, gingers, and chilli without colour. Add the rice wine vinegar and reduce by a third. Add the sugar syrup, dashi and soy sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pickled ginger juice, nam pla and fresh lime juice to taste. Allow the dressing to cool before using.

Shuck the oysters, keeping them in their shells and save all the juice. Arrange 3 small mounds of Maldon salt onto each plate and press an oyster into each. Stir the Vietnamese dressing and spoon it over the oysters. In a bowl, mix the julienne of spring onion, deep fried shallot and baby coriander together and place a small pile on top of each oyster. Place a lime cheek on the side.