Simple Irish Oysters with an Asian twist
I love reflecting the freshness of spring in my suppers. This week, we've been eating beef noodle soup and fresh Irish oysters.
The comfort of beef noodle soup transcends the seasons, while oysters are best from September to April. Our beautiful Irish oysters came from Sligo via the brilliant Kish Fish (www.kishfish.ie) in Dublin 7.
Instead of the traditional red onion and vinegar accompaniment, I've flavoured my oysters with toasted sesame oil.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ask your fishmonger about how to store and prepare oysters. They'll know where you can get a good shucking knife, too.
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Finely chopped chilli
A dozen Irish oysters
1 In a small bowl, mix together the sesame oil, soya sauce and grated ginger.
2 Shuck your oysters. This isn't hard exactly but there is a knack to it which takes practice to master. Protect the hand that holds the oyster by wearing a thick oven glove or by wrapping it in a thick tea towel. This will also keep the oyster steady.
Place the tip of the shucking knife at the base of the oyster's hinge, which is at the narrower end of the oyster. Once your knife has penetrated the hinge, twist it until the hinge pops. Use your knife to carefully separate the shells.
The oyster will be connected to the bottom shell, so carefully use your knife to separate the oyster from the shell. This makes for more dignified slurping.
If you're still unsure, head online, where you'll find a myriad of instructional videos on how to open an oyster.
3 Place some crushed ice on a plate and place the freshly shucked oysters on top. Spoon about a teaspoon of your sesame oil mixture into each oyster, before topping with a sprinkling of finely chopped chilli. Serve immediately, as the oysters need to be consumed once shucked.
Simple Beef Noodle Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large sirloin steak, about 300g
900ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, finely grated
75g of udon noodles
1 handful of sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced
1 lime, halved
1 Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Rub the oil into the steak and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Fry the steak for 3 minutes each side. Remove the pan from the heat and let the steak rest in it for 5 minutes.
2 Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and add the grated ginger and grated garlic. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and simmer for a further 3 minutes.
3 Add the noodles to a second saucepan of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, or according to the instructions. I like to cook the noodles in a separate pot so the broth doesn't get too starchy.
4 Divide between two bowls. Pour chicken stock over noodles. Divide the sugar snaps evenly between the bowls. Finely slice the steak. Top with slices of red chilli and a slice of lime.
This week's storecupboard essential:
Toasted Sesame Oil: This nutty oil is a delicious secret weapon when used in stir-fries and Asian-influenced salad dressings. Apply with caution, however, as its strength in flavour can be over-powering.