Traditionalists will tell you the best way to eat oysters in the half shell is naked, freshly opened, with nothing at all.
It’s a nice way to enjoy them especially if you’re feeling lazy and the only work you want to do is a bit of shucking.
Personally, if you gave me a dozen oysters, half a lemon, some tabasco, and a couple of pints of Guinness than I’d be a happy man.
You might find both these ways of slurping down natures viagra a little boring and want to spice them up a little. And the great news is that the creamy texture and sweet briny taste of oysters can handle a lot of different flavours.
Sweet, sour, hot, and spicy all go well with oysters. The trick is to restrain yourself a little, you don’t want to overpower the delicate natural flavour of the oyster.
Most of the oyster topping recipes that follow are quick and easy with minimal prep, chopping, or slicing. You could easily whip up a batch in under 5 minutes.
There’s some tasty vinaigrettes flavoured with different fruits, spices, and herbs all designed to complement sweet brininess of the oyster.
I’ve got a few ice cool granita oyster topping ideas for you to try (more on those later) as well as a couple of really quick hot toppings. Which are my own personal favourites.
Let’s get to it….
Prawn and sweet potato massaman curry – A mild and mellow Thai broth made with succulent tiger prawns and tender chunks of brightly coloured sweet potato.
Out of all the curries on the planet the massaman is definitely a favourite. I’ll order in the odd Indian from time to time and enjoy a biryani, a masala, or a jalfrezi now and again. If I’m doing a curry at home though, i’ll nearly always opt for a mild and creamy Thai massaman.
The massaman curry is quite unique. It gives you the best of both worlds, both Indian and Thai. It’s an infusion of all those pungent flavours you associate with south-east asia. Coconut, lime, garlic, chilli, ginger, and lemongrass, plus a list of Indian spices that ordinarily would have no business in a Thai curry. Cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and turmeric all feature in the curry paste used to make a massaman.
There’s a couple of theories on the origins of the massaman and how these fragrant Indian spices ever ended up it a Thai curry in the first place. Some say that the dish came from southern Thailand where the food is a bit more influenced by Malay and Indian cuisine. However according to one of my favourite chefs and renowned Thai food guru David Thompson the dish originated in the royal Thai court in the 17th century, brought over by Persian merchants.
What ever its origins the cook who first put it together was ingenious. Blending such a long list of different herbs and spices was either a lucky accident or took a lot of thought and skill.
Skewered sweet Dublin bay prawns rolled in toasted sesame seed and grilled till golden, served with a sweet and peppery garlic aioli.
When was the last time some Dublin bay prawns ended up in your shopping basket down the fish mongers? If you’re anything like me the chances are they’re an occasional treat. A delicacy only enjoyed every now and again.
The main reason for me is the price. The 20 or so dublin bay prawns in the picture above cost a whopping 17 euro and I’m not ashamed to say I wolfed them down all on my lonesome and was still left feeling a little peckish.
The other issue is availability, which is also the reason they’re so damn expensive. No doubt the best and freshest are snapped up by the high end restaurants around town. Which leaves your average joe like you and me with the frozen variety.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Dublin bay prawns deteriorate rapidly once caught. These days they’re flash frozen at sea or shortly after being being landed. Most of the time I turn up my nose at frozen fish.
Shellfish mac and cheese – baked macaroni in a super silky sauce laced with flecks of sweet crab and succulent prawns.
Macaroni and cheese has been popular ever since Kraft put it in a box and sold it as a convenience product in 1937. It was around long before that though. Its roots are Italian and date back to the 14th century where recipes for pasta casseroles can be found in cookbooks written in latin.
We might never have heard of mac and cheese if not for American president Thomas Jefferson. Apparently he fell in love with the dish while traveling in northern Italy at the beginning of the 19th century and brought the recipe home with him.
Friends in the U.S tell me that as kids they grew up on mac and cheese. Not so here in Ireland. I can remember as a young lad hearing references to it on the T.V and never really knowing what it was. I grew up on spuds, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only pasta I was familiar with as a kid were the spaghetti hoops that came from a can.
Thickly sliced crumbly black pudding, fried till crispy with saute scallops and a smooth apple puree made from tart granny smith’s.
Beannachtai la fheile padraig!….and for those of you who don’t speak gaelic, Happy Saint Paddy’s day. You might be planning on celebrating the day by drowning the shamrock or maybe cooking something with a little Irish flavour.
Theres bacon and cabbage (a dish I grew up on and still love today) Or you could go with one of the iconic Irish potato dishes, champ, boxty, or colcannon. Unlike the French or Italians here in Ireland we don’t have a long list of classic dishes which were famous for.
What we do have though are some of the finest ingredients which we can be rightly proud of. I’m thinking of the top quality beef and lamb we produce here. The fine dairy produce and farmhouse cheeses. The huge variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and of course bountiful seas packed with the finest fish and shellfish. Read More
The aroma that wafts through the kitchen as you cook this is gonna make your mouth water. Roasted shellfish and garlic, deglazed with a glass of your favourite white wine. A dead simple recipe, cooked in minutes.
The French call them langoustines. In Norway there known as Norwegian lobster. Here and in Britain there called Dublin Bay prawns and I’ve often wondered where that name comes from? I’ve been around Dublin bay many a time and it’s not like its teeming with them.
A popular recipe to use these sweet little crustaceans in is scampi. To me though this is sacrilege. Rolling them in breadcrumbs and sticking them in the deep fryer just doesn’t do them justice. Try this recipe instead it’s far quicker and 10 times tastier.
We’re so lucky here in this corner of the world to have succulent sea creature right on our doorstep. Its only habitat is the north-eastern Atlantic, as far south as Portugal, and up to the north in Iceland.
What makes Dublin bay prawns so great? why are they better than their cousins the tiger or king prawn from south-east Asia that you see on supermarket shelves everywhere? Well for me its all about the texture. There much softer, sweeter tasting, and more succulent.