Sunday, 20 May 2012

Wild Oysters & Marsh Samphire

So, if you consider the "R in the month" proverb about foraging for shell fish, then the end of April (...and first couple of weeks of May if it's been cold...well....rules are there to be broken) is the only time of the year where you can still eat the foraged oysters before the water gets too warm and they begin breeding, and when the samphire is fresh and succulent.

Down here in Kent, both are enjoy this bounty that would cost you a packet at Noma.

 Tip 1:-  make sure you follow the tide out, and know when low Tide is.  the biggest Oysters are where they are always in the water - i.e. at or towards the low tide mark.

Tip 2: take a screwdriver or crow bar, as they attach themselves to the rocks with a vice like grip

Tip 3:- Marsh Samphire grows in the muddy area of the high tide line, keeping it's feet in the water, and getting a fresh drenching from the high tide twice daily.

take your wellies, and a pair of scissors - make sure you snip off the tender stems, but don't uproot the little stems, their roots are short and easily disturbed.

And here's the results.

 Tip 4:-  When shucking oysters, make sure your holding hand is in a thick towel, or paid of oven gloves.  using a shucking knife or screw-driver, carefully insert into the apex hinge of the shell to break the hinge, don't try and prize it open from the mouth won't work, the shell will crack, and you'll probably stab yourself!

Wrap the oysters in little strips of parma ham, sautee them in garlic butter, then grill briefly to crispen the ham

simmer the samphire in rolling boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then dress with pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice

serve with fresh crusty bread and the pan juices from the oysters....and nice glass of cider or white wine.  Tj@TheNook

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