Oysters have come a long way in food history. There are hundreds of preparations and heated debates on how to cook and eat them properly. They served as as a gateway to the wonderful world of gastronomy. Just ask any esteemed foodie, chef and culinary enthusiast about their first oyster experience.
Image from back Appetites. Photo Credit: Bobby Fisher
From Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, he recalled a detailed childhood trip to France where he experienced oysters for the first time by a fisherman named Monsieur Saint-Jour. "I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the by now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour, and with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater … of brine and flesh … and somehow … of the future," he wrote. His love affair with food was sparked.
From Bourdain's early TV days of No Reservations, he was sampling oysters in Belon, France. Even on CNN's Parts Unknown he scoped out San Francisco's hidden (not so hidden) oyster joint, Swan Oyster Depot. As a tribute to Anthony Bourdain and his inspiration for food, wine and travel, we are featuring an international preparation for those who are serious about oysters.
Taiwanese Oyster Omelette aka (ô-á-chian)
It was no hidden secret that Bourdain was a proponent of street vendors from all of the world. He was planning to open a Singaporean style Hawker center in NYC. Some of the world's best street food can be found in Taiwan. There is nothing more authentic and representative of the melting pot of Taiwan than Taiwanese Oyster Omelette. From the slippery texture to the tangy sauce, the wine pairing is a challenge. Try it with a Sparkling Rosé, Greek White Wine, unoaked Chardonnay Our favorite is the Greek White Wine, after all island wines goes with island food.
- 1/2 cup water
- half spring onion
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp sweet chili
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sour plum powder
- 1 tbsp flour to thicken
- 6-8 small, raw oysters ( or 3-4 big ones, chopped into 1 inch pieces)
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp vegetable oil (e.g., grapeseed oil)
- 1 cup raw green leafy vegetable (e.g., Taiwanese A-choy, baby spinach, chrysanthemum leaves / tong hao)
- 2 eggs
- Sprigs of chopped cilantro
- Heat up the flour in a frying pan and add a little oil, keep stirring
- Now add about half of the water into the frying pan
- when it’s bubbling add all the rest of the sauce ingredients into the pan
- check the thickness of the sauce, if it’s too thick for you add some more water, if not, that’s OK, we made it like ketchup thickness, then we put it through a sieve to make it smooth.
- Rinse oysters in water and drain.
- Mix together potato starch, water, salt, white pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk together until well combined. Add oysters to batter.
- Add oil to wok set on high heat.
- Add half the batter to the wok allowing it to sizzle briefly (about 10 seconds). Lower the heat to medium and let set until the starch pancake is translucent (about 5 minutes). Optionally flip halfway through.
- Add half of the leafy greens.
- Break one egg into the wok, optionally spreading the yolk around. When the egg is set, flip the entire pancake around. Don't worry if it breaks (these are hard to flip!). Cook for another minute or so, and then remove from the wok.
- Add the cilantro and sauce and serve.
- Serves 1 hungry patron or 2.
Recipe adapted from Tiny Urban Kitchen.