Freshly Shucked Oysters with Bloody Mary Jelly

Serves 4

A nice entrée for a Sunday brunch, serve 3 oysters per person. The jelly is prepared in the same way as tomato consommé (basic recipe 13) but with the addition of different ingredients and flavourings.  Prepare the jelly in advance and open the oysters at the last moment. Set the oyster shells in salt or on crushed ice and spoon the jelly over them and garnish with diced tomato, celery and cucumber.

500          g              Over-ripe, vine ripened tomatoes.

1                              Shallot, sliced

1                              Stick of celery sliced

1                              Small bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped

10            ml            Vodka

A pinch of Maldon sea salt

A pinch of sugar

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1½                           Leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Tabasco to taste

12                            Unshucked oysters

40            g              Diced tomatoes

40            g              Diced cucumber

40            g              Diced celery

12                            Leaves of celery


Freshly ground pepper

Core the tomatoes and roughly chop.  Place in a bowl with the sliced shallot, celery, basil, vodka, sea salt, sugar and the cayenne pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and cover with cling-film.  Refrigerate for 4 hours to allow the flavours to infuse.  After 4 hours transfer the contents of the bowl into a double-layer of muslin cloth and tie it up as tightly as possible.  Place in a sieve over a large bowl to catch all the juice released from the tomatoes and return to the fridge for 12 hours.

After 12 hours the tomatoes will have released all their juice and the sediment will have dropped to the bottom of the bowl.  Using a coffee filter paper carefully decant the juice into a clean bowl taking care not to disturb the sediment on the bottom.  Discard the sediment and tomato pulp. Add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco to the juice to taste and a dash of vodka if necessary.

Soften the gelatine in cold water.  Squeeze the gelatine and dissolve in 25ml of the tomato juice.  Stir it into the remaining juice and set in the fridge. When the jelly has set, break it up with a fork.

Shuck the oysters. Arrange three small mounds of rock salt or crushed ice on each plate and place an oyster on top of each one.  Spoon the jelly over the oysters. Mix the diced tomato, celery and cucumber together in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, spoon the vegetables over the jelly and garnish with a leaf of celery.