What better treat to cook for your loved one this Valentine’s Day than natural aphrodisiac, oysters? Shucks away!
OYSTERS AU GRATIN
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 8 mins
• 6 fresh oysters, cleaned and shucked
• 4 baby asparagus tips, finely chopped
• 2 outdoor reared streaky bacon rashers, finely chopped
• 30g celery, finely chopped
• Salt and black pepper
• 30g grated mozzarella cheese
1. In a small pan cook the bacon for 1-2 mins until crispy.
2. Add the celery and asparagus, season and fry for a couple more mins.
3. Spoon the bacon and asparagus mixture over the oysters. Sprinkle the cheese over.
4. Cook under a medium hot grill for 3-4 mins until the cheese is golden. Enjoy!
OYSTERS IN GARLIC BUTTER
SERVES 2 as a starter
PREPARATION TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 5 mins
• 8-12 fresh native oysters
• 55g unsalted organic butter, softened
• 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• black pepper
1. Preheat the grill.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, parsley, garlic and seasoning.
3. Place a small knob of garlic butter onto each oyster.
4. Grill for 3-4 minutes until cooked and serve with crusty bread.
Recipes and imagery courtesy of Fish is the Dish, a Seafish initiative. www.seafish.org
Tanners’ wine expert Tiffany Vernon goes white all the way with oysters...
Oysters are as classic a Valentine’s Day treat as Champagne – and the two are even better together. Oysters au Gratin with Beaumont des Crayères Fleur de Prestige Champagne Vintage 2008 (£37) is a match made in heaven. This sumptuously rich Champagne is brimming with toast and brioche character entwined with vibrant apples and preserved lemons. Vintage Champagne is only made during the best years – that is when the grapes yield an exceptionally high-quality crop which shines through in the wine – with the year 2008 being highly regarded as one of the best of the best!
A gorgeous alternative to Champagne for this dish is an aged Muscadet. Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Château- Thébaud 2013 (£15.50) is an incredibly complex white made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety which boasts notes of baked apples and quince enrobed in honey, followed by a lemony lift and streak of minerality. What’s more, this particular Muscadet has been aged on its lees (the deposited leftovers of grape materials and yeast cells) giving more depth of character.
For Oysters in Garlic Butter, the classic match is Chablis. I’ve opted for a firm favourite of mine, Chablis Les Valéry, Jean Durup (£18.20), which is a textbook, refreshing Chablis, full of lemons, pears and a baked brioche core alongside a classic steely nature, all topped off with a hint of salinity. Chablis is always made from 100 percent Chardonnay, but the majority of winemakers in this region opt to focus on its fresh fruity character rather than adding oak into the mix.
Another option for this timeless dish is Vermentino – and one of my favourites is Vermentino di Sardegna, Melis (£10.95) which comes from the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. This white boasts deliciously crisp green apples, lemon peel and a hint of tropical fruit with a sprinkling of dry herbs and a saline freshness.
Have a romantic – and great tasting! – Valentine’s Day!
Tanners Wines, 102/103 Tremarl Industrial Estate, Ffordd Maelgwyn, Llandudno Junction, Conwy LL31 9PN. Tel: 01492 874009. tanners-wines.co.uk
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