Oysters…love them or hate them, they are an iconic Australian summer indulgence! We LOVE them – as simple canapés or as spectacular oyster bar.
Selecting the oysters
Start with the freshest Australian oysters you can find! All Australian oysters are farmed for sustainability reasons, so be sure to do your research and find a supplier with a great reputation for freshness who shucks (opens oysters) to order – you want to eat the oysters within a few hours of shucking if possible. The freshest oysters taste just like the sea and if they are not too big they have a sweet salty flavour with a creamy texture.
Australia has three varieties of oysters
- Pacific Oyster Traditionally grown in Tasmania and South Australia.
- Sydney Rock Oyster Victoria & NSW border
- Agasini Oyster a newer variety, grown in South Australia and NSW
We believe that it’s always nice to have a variety of tastes and flavours, so we would always try to have a selection of the above. But oysters are also seasonal, with spawning affecting flavour and texture, so speak to your supplier about the best option for your event.
For the setup
The number one priority is keeping the oysters cool. We recommend large punch bowls filled with ice for the oysters to sit on top of, or creating your own ice trays by filling large containers with water and placing them in the freezer overnight (we even include slices of lemon and lime to freeze into the trays which looks amazing!).
Once your oysters are chilled and ready to serve, it’s time for the accompaniments – toppings, dressings, sauces, etc…yum! The traditional toppings are essential, ensure you have lots of fresh lemon and lime wedges and freshly cracked pepper. For some more adventurous guests be sure to have some tabasco, horseradish and some other varieties of citrus – grapefruit and blood oranges are a delicious addition.
We also recommend some home-made vinaigrettes and dressings. Below is a recipe for a simple French Style Mignonette which is always a crowd pleaser, as well as a Japanese Dressing for something different. If you have different varieties of oysters we also suggest labelling the groups according to flavours – your supplier can help you with this! E.g. briny, strong, mild, silky texture, meaty texture.
Some extra tips
For a bit of extra theatre, we suggest hiring a professional oyster shucker to work your oyster bar and shuck on request. This not only ensures an incredibly fresh oyster, but is also a great opportunity for guests to appreciate the skill involved in extracting that beautiful oyster meat!
Oysters are perfect with champagne. Ensure you have some bottles on ice to serve alongside your oysters so that guests can enjoy this sublime pairing in the summer sunshine!
Traditional French Style Mignonette
- ¼ cup dry white wine or champagne
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons shallot – very finely diced
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Mix, chill and serve.
- 3 tablespoon micro-planed ginger
- 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 finely chopped spring onion, white & green part
- Toasted sesame seed
If you like it spicy add Togarashi chilli seasoning
Mix ginger, vinegar & soy, chill and serve with a sprinkling of sesame and togarashi.
Ms Zebra Says: No summer canapé list is every truly complete without oysters and champagne – am I right?! Such an easy way to show off to guests and an easy DIY!
About Cookes Food: From award-winning catering, exclusive venues, styling and staff, we’ve perfected the art of the perfect wedding celebration! This is the biggest day of your life, enjoy the moments and let us take care of the rest.