You may wonder what the above items have in common. The answer to that started while sitting at the bar of a ceviche restaurant in Manhattan's lower east side. There is a small place called Desnuda where a couple of young chefs make some really interesting, delicious ceviches. They also do other weird shit. One of which is make a quick-smoked oyster.
I figured I would give it a shot, as it looked replicable. Also I have been on a bit of an oyster binge these past few months.
The first step - as with most recipes - was to construct a gravity bong. Having of course never EVER done this before, I took to the internet for instructions. I am now on a watchlist, and am publishing this blog post partly to clear my name if it ever comes to that.
I had asked the guys at Desnuda what they were using, and they quickly revealed their secret blend. A Chinese smoked tea called Lapsang Souchong, and Szechuan peppercorns. Both were easily procured in Montreal. These were blended at about 2/3 tea leaves to 1/3 peppercorns, and the bowl was packed.
Next, shuck. I bought two varieties of east coast (P.E.I.) oysters: a small variety called Shiny Sea, and my favourite, Raspberry Point. The oyster supply in Montreal is really good. You know, the French.
The next series is fairly self-explanatory.
|The smoke should be really thick, so I burned it slow.|
A blowtorch would have been better than the Bic I used.
|It was a two person job to hotbox these guys.|
So then I just let them sit there for two minutes. The kitchen got good and smoky, but it is a nice smoke.
After the smoke they went back in their shells on a bed of ice for presentation purposes, with a few drops of fresh lemon on each. The photo from that step is missing because we may or may not have actually just tipped back the little bowls while standing in the kitchen. But you can imagine how that might be a nice presentation.
Summary: fucking delicious. Interestingly, the two varieties took the smoke flavour very differently. The Shiny Sea were good, but not nearly as good at the Raspberry Point. I think the natural sweetness, along with brininess of the Raspberry Point made them ideal for the technique. With such a delicate flavour to begin with, oysters can easily be overpowered by sauces. But this infuses a flavour that doesn't overwhelm.
Next up: freebasing a rack of lamb through a rolled up $100 bill in a locked bathroom.