The world's our oyster

Dunedin chef Greg Piner. Photo: ODT
Greg Piner wth a plate of Bluff oysters Kilpatrick. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON

The Bluff oyster season has begun, and to celebrate Dunedin chef Greg Piner has whipped up a couple of recipes for Fresh readers.

Wild weather may have slowed the flow of Bluff oysters north, but that does not stop fans seeking out the southern delicacy.

Graeme Wright, of Barnes Oysters, said rough weather restricted the supply of oysters in the first few days of the season, but since mid-last week the weather had improved, allowing the fishing fleet to get to the beds.

"We've been getting reasonable catches and there's lots of demand.''

As a result, the quality of the oysters caught had improved, he said.

Fresh asked Vault 21 and Prohibition Smokehouse group executive chef Greg Piner to share a couple of his favourite ways to serve oysters.

He chose the following recipes, and offers some tips on how to store and look after oysters.

Fresh Bluff oysters with chardonnay shallot vinaigrette 


Bluff oysters in shell
1 shallot finely diced
150ml chardonnay vinegar
pepper to season
wakame soaked then thinly sliced.


In a small bowl mix together shallot, chardonnay vinegar and cracked black pepper. Set aside.

Crush ice and sprinkle with thinly sliced wakame.

Arrange oysters on ice and garnish with shallot vinegar. Enjoy.


Bluff oysters Kilpatrick


12 Bluff oysters ½ shell
2 shallots, finely diced
3 rashes smoked streaky bacon, rind removed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Tabasco sauce
6 Tbsp tomato sauce
juice of half a lemon
cracked black pepper
olive oil


Place oysters on oven proof tray.

Fry the chopped bacon in a drizzle of olive oil over a medium-low heat until the fat begins to melt and the bacon is golden-brown. Remove from pan, set aside.

In the same pan, saute finely diced shallot until soft. Return bacon to the pan.

Add the tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon juice and tomato sauce, mix until comes together.

Place teaspoonsful of the sauce mixture on each oyster.

Place the baking tray under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Place the oysters on a serving dish liberally sprinkled with salt and serve immediately.

Tips on how to store and look after oysters

• The best way to store oysters is in the container they are bought in.

• If they are in the shell, they should be wrapped in a damp, salted tea towel and kept in the fridge. The towel needs to be rinsed and re-salted daily to make sure the fresh water does not kill the oysters. ‘‘Use the nose test —  the oyster should always smell of the ocean; no strong aromas.’’

• If buying in-shell, oysters need to be rinsed to remove any excess sand, but keep it to a minimum, as oysters do not like fresh water.

• Oysters in containers should not be rinsed, as the flavour will be washed away. Instead use a sieve to drain them and pick out any shell.

• If the oyster is in the shell and open, do the ‘‘tap test’’. If the oyster closes when tapped it is still good, if it does not close the oyster has died and should be discarded.


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