Tis’ the season to eat turkey, brussels sprouts, mince pies, and oysters. Yes, oysters. Oysters, one of the great celebration foods, really are the perfect Christmas food. In season during any month that has an ‘R’ in it, September to April, oysters spend the Summer fattening up their plump little selves for their long Winter’s hibernation making them sweeter and crisper than at any other point in the year during the chilly winter months.
Taking advantage of their succulence this time year, in many countries around the world oysters feature prominently in celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s. In France, between 50% and 70% of all oysters eaten are slurped up between these two holidays. While American custom associates piping hot oyster stew with Christmas Eve.
Exclusively for TheTaste, Chef and Food Stylist Johan van der Merwe, together with photographer Eugene Langan, has created 12 unique, delicious and beautiful ways to love your oysters this Christmas. A great way to offset all of the rich food we indulge in throughout the festive season, why not start your own Christmas oyster tradition.
1) Galway Oyster with Apple, Preserved lemon and Cucumber
Dice an apple with preserved lemon and cucumber.
2) Oyster and Mignonette
Mix 2 tbsp fine dice a shallot, ½ cup red wine vinegar and crushed black pepper.
3) Native Oyster Pan Fried with Bacon and Chilli
Crisp bits of bacon, dice chilli in a pan, dust oysters with flour and fry for 30 sec each side.
4) Naked Oyster
Chew oyster 2-3 times before you swallow – don’t gulp.
5) Oysters and Tarragon
Dress with tarragon, black pepper and dash of tarragon vinegar.
6) Oysters with Thai dressing and Lime
Mix 150 ml soy sauce, 1 chopped chilli, ginger and juice from 1 lime.
7) Crumbed Oyster with Tartar Sauce
Flour, egg and panko crumb oysters, fry till crisp. Serve with tartar sauce.
8) Oyster with Tabasco and Lemon Juice
Serve with a dash and a squeeze.
9) Oyster in Stout Batter
120g pain flour, 1 egg and enough stout to make a batter, fry till crisp
10) Oysters Grilled with Parsley and Capers
Blanch parsley and chop with capers, top oysters, add dash of cream and grill.
11) Oysters with Wasabi Lime and Pickled Ginger
Dress oyster small bit of wasabi, ginger and serve with lime.
12) Oyster with Watermelon and Cucumber
Top with diced cucumber and watermelon.
Johan’s passion for food has taken him from South Africa to the culinary capital of London, via the abundance of Canada’s Pacific North West and the dynamic food culture of Ireland, now his home. During his career he has honed his culinary skills in famous restaurants such as Michel Roux’s The Waterside Inn, London’s The Ivy and Cork’s Cafe Paradiso. As a food stylist he brings these skills to every assignment; be it interpreting the visual identity of new-to-market brands, or injecting freshness into the approach to long-established products. He also has worked with Rachel Allen on her BBC television series Home Cooking, and assisted award-winning chef Denis Cotter on magazine shoots and television programs. He enjoys the challenge of delivering in these diverse working environments. Whether it is a person or a product, his approach in each circumstance is different, but his role is the same – to let the talent shine. For more information visit www.foodstyle.ie, or follow Johan on Twitter.
For more information on photographer Eugene Langan visit www.eugenelangan.com.