Don’t panic! They aren’t wading out there and nicking them.
When we say our oysters are being poached, what we’re talking about is international chefs whipping up gourmet oyster delights and using a cooking method that brings out the delicate flavours of these mouthwatering molluscs: poaching.
Jim took ‘Outdoor Chef Life‘ creator, sushi chef, camper, fisherman, forager and seafood lover Taku Kondo and his partner Jocelyn on a tour of our oyster farm.
“Outdoor Chef Life” is a YouTube-based business Taku and Jocelyn began in 2018. They have combined their passion for cooking and the outdoors to now have over 600,000 followers whom they entertain with videos of fishing, foraging and beautiful food. They are based in California, but “Outdoor Chef Life” makes a tasty full-time income for them as they travel and eat their way around the globe.
After their tour with us, Taku and Jocelyn went out to Scandrett Regional Park where they whipped up a bacon and egg buttie with a difference – it had oysters in it. And they poached the oysters.
“Why poach oysters?” you may wonder
Well, as Taku says in his video, “Oysters are amazing raw but they’re also good if you just poach them a little bit …. the texture of poached oysters … still almost feels raw, but what it does is it kind of gets plumped: it has a nice form to it”.
Poaching oysters provides a raft of advantages over other cooking methods. It causes oysters to swell, become meatier and develop a wonderful silky, rich flavour. There are many, many different poached oyster recipes out there. They all have one thing in common though: the oysters are cooked in liquid which can elevate the whole oyster-eating experience, and here’s how.
Tender and Juicy:
Poaching allows oysters to cook gently. It preserves their natural moisture and helps retain the delicate flavour, resulting in tender, succulent morsels.
By poaching, you preserve the natural briny taste of oysters while infusing them with the flavours of the poaching liquid, such as herbs, wine, or stock.
Poached oysters can be served in various dishes, making them a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire.
Poaching opens up endless possibilities for creativity in the kitchen. You can experiment with all sorts of mouthwatering ingredients.
The Healthier Option:
Unlike frying, there can be no fat involved, and the oysters retain more of their natural nutrients. An even more guilt-free way to enjoy these delicacies, if you need convincing.
Firstly, the cooking time for poaching oysters can vary depending on their size and the recipe you’re using. However, as a general guideline, oysters should be poached for about 3 minutes at most. Poach until edges begin to curl. Taku was poaching them in salted water and said, “Yep, just a minute or less than a minute – 30 seconds or so we’ll take them out and see how plump they get – pretty cool”.
Keep in mind that oysters will continue to cook even after being removed from the poaching liquid. Therefore, we think it’s better to err on the side of slightly undercooking them.
Shuck at least a dozen oysters. Reserve liquid (oyster liquor) for cooking, and the shells for serving.
Pour the oyster liquor and chosen sauce ingredients into a saute pan. You need enough liquid to ensure the oysters are covered. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes and then add the oysters.
Oysters can be poached in their shells but in these recipes, they have all been shucked and separated first.
Unless the recipe you’re using states otherwise, spoon the oysters back into their shells after poaching. Serve with 1 teaspoon of poaching liquid. Then top whatever garnish you’ve opted for.
Poached oysters can be served hot or chilled.
Recipes for poached oysters
Classic White Wine Poached Oysters:
In this timeless recipe, oysters are gently poached in a blend of white wine, butter, garlic, spring onions, and a hint of lemon. The resulting velvety sauce complements the briny oysters beautifully.
Oysters in Champagne Sauce:
Try poaching oysters in bubbles, accompanied by shallots, saffron, and a touch of cream. Pure decadence!
Poach oysters in a savoury, umami-rich base of soy sauce, ginger, and a hint of chilli, providing a burst of flavour in every bite.
Thai-Style Coconut Lemongrass Poached Oysters:
Oysters with the exotic flavours of Thailand – try poaching them in coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and chillies for a spicy kick.
Oyster Po’ Boy Slider:
Serve oysters in mini rolls, Po’ Boy style. Poach oysters gently in salted water then serve them up with some crisp lettuce, tangy pickles, and a drizzle of zesty mayo.
For those not yet converted to the delights of raw oysters, serve poached oysters on the half shell with a classic mignonette sauce made with shallots, vinegar, and cracked black pepper.
Poaching oysters is yet another fantastic way to serve them
If you’ve never tried poached oysters before, now is the time to embrace this exquisite cooking method and savour the delicate wonders of the ocean in your own kitchen. So, don your apron, grab a few bottles of your favourite wine, and gather your friends and family for an oyster feast.
The oyster of choice
Thanks to our careful husbandry and intelligent market selection, our plump Pacific oysters have become the oyster of choice in the Auckland restaurant scene and are exported in large numbers to Pacific Rim countries.