Though Oysters are preferred during the latter quarter of the year, Spain has many types of Oysters that are available all year round.
These Oysters can have a stronger after-taste than their French counterparts. They come in all shapes and sizes (though the biggest I have seen during my travels are from Thailand, the size of my hand, though they have a much softer taste).
I was recently asked to come up with a Starter dish for a new cook book (well, the hotel produced 3 dishes, one Starter, by moi, one Main Course and Dessert by my fellow Chefs Miguel and Akiyama).
I chose Oysters because I am very fond of them, and will eat them whenever I get the chance. 🙂
Usually I just drip some Olive Oil, a pinch of Black Pepper and just a small amount of Lemon Juice on to them (I find the Shallot Vinaigrette normally served with Oysters a little too acid for my taste (a sign of the restaurant using cheap vinegar)).
My way of eating Oysters may seem weird at first, but when you try it, you´ll love it. 🙂
So here is the contradiction! 😯 Why have I added many different stronger flavours to my “Trilogy of Oyst3rs” (it´s not a “typo” Trilogy of “Osyt3rs” geddit). Well, the answer is because as said earlier, Spanish Oysters sometimes have a stronger taste, which some people love, but in my opinion need a little help (the Oysters, not the people). 😆
A different characteristic for each mouthful, that is my aim. Being careful not to overpower their natural taste, but at the same time, “enhance” the taste that Mother Nature has given us. To paraphrase the great(est) Chef Marco Pierre White;
“Mother Nature is the True Artist, we are just the technicians”.
Part I. Salmon & Sturgeon.
A little Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Pepper and Lemon Juice is mixed before being “brushed” on to the Oyster.
Salmon Roe and Beluga Caviar is delicately placed on top. As with entire the threesome, this morsel must be devoured in one go, that way all the flavours will “marry” on the palate.
Part II. Onion & Tangerine.
After the lucid taste of the fish eggs, now we have a more “Tangy” taste.
Tangerine Juice is reduced and perked up with some Lime Juice. Finely chopped Onion lends it a welcome pungent aroma. Caster Sugar plays an important role here, finely balancing the strong onion-taste without ridding it of the sour-sweet affection of the Tangerine and Lime.
Part III.”Nam Pla” Oysters.
I took the Laocook recipe of “New Style Goong Che Nam Pla” , and incorperated it with this final mouthful. Coriander Oil gives it it´s “Extra-Body”. This is the last and strongest of the trio, and perhaps my favorite (which means that I could eat it all day and night…. 😆 )
Meanwhile, the rest of the Team are in the main kitchen getting ready for Service.
Junior is getting his Stock ready.
Off cuts of Beef, Garlic and Herbs will be roasted at 190º then boiled for hours, then strained, then reduced and will form a part of our Sauce Bases. It takes quite a while, but patience is repaid by a fully flavoured Sauce Base.
Sous Chef, Khamsene gets our Beef ready for our Beef with Orange Vinegar.
Tender cuts of Beef Lomo (Sirloin) will be frozen for 45 minutes before being cut in to thin strips, then drenched in Corn Flour before being used in our Beef with Orange Vinegar.
Khamhoung is semi-braising our Pollitos (Baby Chicken) in a mixture of Soy Sauce, Sugar and Roasted Spices.
These will later be deboned, then deep-fried and used for a special “Volcano Chicken”, which will be served on a hot plate and flambéed (in the restaurant) with a mixture of Mirin, Jerez Brandy and Anise.