Oyster Beignets With a Sorrel Velouté
Oysters are one of those ingredients that you either love or hate. I cannot get myself to eat raw oysters unless I have to impress someone who is looking at me, then I close my eyes and I swallow! Somehow I find cooked oysters easier to eat and are more palatable. Memories come flooding back of the famous Marco Pierre White Tagliatelle of Oysters with Caviar, such a fantastic dish now a treasured classic but in those days it was cutting edge cuisine of the highest order.
Sorrel and oysters are both at their best right now, a true seasonal treat.
Sorrel has an eye watering sour tang but it too has that love or hate effect. I have fond memories of cooking sorrel omelettes in the 90’s. With its pungent sharp distinctive taste, sorrel leans best towards sauces to accompany white fish such as Lemon Sole, Sea Bass and John Dory. The classic combination of chilled sorrel soup with poached duck eggs is a definite winner, as it marks the beginning of spring.
With those wonderful fond memories I set off to create a delicious dish that would not only compliment my style but also my taste.
As we all know food is subjective and what I love is not always what others would like.
The whole thought processes for this recipe were to create a canapé, one pretty mouth full of flavour and pure pleasure. The crispy oyster beignet with the pungent taste of the sorrel velouté, subdued by the addition of the aerated sauce, finished off by crisp crunchy pickled cucumber. The introduction of the dried edible flowers and coriander cress not only looks pretty but compliments the taste of this truly delectable dish.
- 100g sorrel, stalks removed and washed
- 2 banana shallots, finely diced
- 10ml olive oil
- 100ml vermouth
- 200ml fish stock
- 100ml double cream
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the diced shallots with seasoning until they turn transparent. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and reduce by half.
Add the stock and bring to the boil and again reduce by half. Add the cream, bring the velouté back to the boil, adjust the seasoning if needed and add the lemon juice to taste.
Pour the velouté into a blender, add the sorrel and blend until smooth. Pour into a cream whipper. Secure the lid and charge with two gas charges. Shake the cream whipper vigorously and chill.
- 8 rock oysters
- 20g cornflour
- 75g self-raising flour
- 125ml sparkling water
- 1 free range egg yolk
- 2 free range egg whites
- Sunflower oil for deep-frying
Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage . Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.
Shuck the oysters, wash the shells and oysters in cold water, rinse and drain them on kitchen paper.
Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, dip the oysters in the batter and fry them for about one minute until golden brown all over. Cooking time will be dependent on the size of the oyster. Drain the oysters on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve.
- ½ cucumber
- 30ml cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt and sugar
Wash and peel the cucumber, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Finely dice the cucumber in 2-3mm brunoise, add the vinegar sugar and salt and leave to macerate for 10 minutes. Drain the cucumber on kitchen paper.
Spoon the drained pickled cucumber into the shells. Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the sauce into a small bowl and then spoon the foaming sauce over the cucumber. Place a crispy golden oyster beignet in each shell and garnish with edible dried wild flowers and coriander cress.