Oysters are popular at Christmas time, but many Australian varieties spawn at this time of year, making them fragile and creamy, so it's best to go with rock varieties, which are still in season. Make sure you buy them freshly shucked. If they're being shucked for you at your fish market, ask that they be washed only minimally so they lose as little juice as possible and retain their lovely briny flavour.
- 80 ml olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 2 red shallots, finely diced
- 2 rindless bacon rashers, finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped garlic stems
- ¼ cup panko crumbs (see note)
- 24 rock oysters, freshly shucked
- 120 ml Shaoxing wine
- 2 tbsp XO sauce (see note)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 15 gm ginger, cut into julienne (3cm piece)
- To serve: thinly sliced spring onion
- 1Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat, add shallot and bacon and stir until bacon is crisp (3-5 minutes), then add garlic stems and stir until tender (1-2 minutes). Add panko crumbs and stir until toasted (3-5 minutes). Season to taste and set aside.
- 2Remove any broken shell from oysters, then remove oysters from shells (reserve shells) and transfer to a bowl, strain juice from oysters into the bowl and set aside.
- 3Place oyster shells in 2 large bamboo steamers, divide Shaoxing, XO sauce and soy sauce among shells, place oysters back on top, top with ginger, then cover and steam over a saucepan of boiling water until just warmed through (1-2 minutes). Top with crumb mixture and spring onion and serve warm.
Note Panko crumbs, or Japanese breadcrumbs, are available from Japanese grocers. If they're unavailable, substitute dried breadcrumbs. XO sauce is available from Asian grocers.
Drink Suggestion: Fragrant, hoppy pale ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen