It's hard to beat freshly shucked oysters, but shucking them yourself can be time-consuming. If you barbecue them in their shells, though, the heat pops them open, and you can serve them straight from the grill with a squeeze of lemon or with the tamarind sauce below.
- 230 gm bacon rashers (we like double-smoked)
- 80 gm tamarind pulp, soaked in ¾ cup hot water for 30 minutes
- 160 gm light palm sugar, crushed
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 small red chillies, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 24 unopened oysters
- 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced, to serve
- ½ bunch Thai basil leaves, to serve
- 1Remove rind from bacon and cook rind in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fat renders (5-10 minutes). Remove crackling from pan (it can be discarded or eaten by the cook). Finely chop remaining bacon, add to pan, stir occasionally until crisp and golden (10-15 minutes), then set aside on absorbent paper to drain.
- 2Meanwhile, pass tamarind liquid through a sieve into a bowl (discard solids), add palm sugar and stir to dissolve. Add fish sauce and chilli and set aside.
- 3Preheat barbecue to high heat, add oysters and barbecue until they pop open (3-5 minutes). Separate oyster lids from bases with a knife, top oysters with a little bacon, a drizzle of tamarind sauce, a scattering of shallot and a few Thai basil leaves and serve with lime halves.