The first time I had an oyster, it was just down the hatch with no lemon or anything. It wasn’t the greatest way of introducing me to them, as I found it difficult to eat. This is a much nicer way of introducing you to this delicacy. Then you can become more adventurous and try them the traditional way.
500ml sunflower oil
6-8 oysters per person, shucked (retain the shells for serving)
For the batter
juice of 1 lemon
100g plain flour
For the coating
100g panko breadcrumbs
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp mild chilli powder
1 tbsp sea salt
For the dip
4 tbsp mayonnaise
½ tsp spicy harissa paste
Mix the batter ingredients well with a whisk in a bowl until you have no lumps. Sometimes it helps to sieve the flour.
For the coating, combine and blend all the ingredients for 10-20 seconds in a food processor.
Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it reaches 180ºC (check this with a thermometer). Dip each oyster in the batter, then the breadcrumb coating and place gently into the hot oil. Fry until crispy. This should take 1-2 minutes. Try not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on some kitchen paper and then season with a little salt.
Mix the dip together and you are ready to serve.
To plate, mix some sea salt with a tiny bit of water to soften it, and then place six small mounds of salt around a plate with some of the dip in a dish in the centre. Place an oyster shell on top of each salt mound, then lay a crispy oyster inside and enjoy them while hot.
Extracted from Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin (Mercier Press, €24.99). Photography by Rob Kerkvliet.