Seduce with oysters and black diamonds as we serve up a light and luxurious Valentines’ Day feast
Author: Stewart Turner
This is a reworking of a classic dish from my days at the Connaught hotel – “oysters Christian Dior” which is perfect for a Valentines’ night supper. I’m not sure where the name came from – maybe it was created for a special dinner, or the luxury ingredients were thought to be synonymous with the house of Dior, but I remember it being one of the signature dishes and we sold them by the bucket load! It’s essentially oysters with a Champagne sabayon, finished with black truffle – or as we used to call it at the Connaught “le diamont noir” (although I’m not sure this sort of diamond will cut the mustard, so feel free too leave it off!).
2 x 150g halibut pieces
2 egg yolks
2tbsp whipped cream
5g fresh truffle – optional
2tbsp chopped chives
Open the oysters using an oyster knife and a tea towel to protect the hand that’s holding the oyster. Do this over a bowl to catch the liquid held in the shells. Set the flesh and shells aside. Strain the oyster water through a very fine sieve or muslin to remove any fragments of shell gently rinse the oysters in the water so that any shell that is stuck to them is removed. Re-strain the juice.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan and sear for three minutes on each side. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and keep warm. While the fish is cooking poach the oyster and make the sabayon.
Pour the strained liquid into a medium saucepan, bring to the boil and poach the oysters for about 30 seconds or a little longer if you like them more cooked. Return the cooking liquid to the boil add the Champagne and reduce by half. Once reduced, place in a heatproof mixing bowl with the egg yolks and sit this on top of a pan of boiling water. Continue whisking vigorously for about three minutes, or until the mixture thickens, then take it off the heat and immediately whisk in the double cream and chives.
Place the halibut in the centre of two plates and top each with two oysters, then spoon over the sabayon. Place under the hot grill for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a little buttered spinach & finish with the truffle.
What to drink with it?
2011 Chablis Vaudésir, Grand Cru, J.P. & Benoît Droin, £45.00 per bottle.
This wine offers the required precision for the cleanliness of the fish, acidity to carry the saline freshness and intensity to marry with earthy, truffly lift. Richard Veal, Berry Bros. & Rudd Private Events