Pancetta-wrapped oyster fritters with cucumber and mint dipping sauce

Pancetta-wrapped oyster fritters with cucumber and mint dipping sauce

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
4 as a starter

Oysters and bacon are a great flavour combination. Their salty and rich flavours need something to cut them, and that’s where the zingy dipping sauce comes in – it has a little kick from the chilli too. A cucumber and fennel salad brings the whole dish together with its lovely fresh textures.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12 live pacific oysters
50ml olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped curly parsley
1 lime, zest finely grated and juiced
12 thin slices pancetta
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the dipping sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 cucumber
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped
a small bunch mint, leaves picked and finely sliced
1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water

For the salad

Quantity Ingredient
1 cucumber
1 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed
1 teaspoon toasted black onion seeds
1 lime, juiced
A generous drizzle extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Open the oysters and strain their juice through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Chop the oysters and then add them to the juices.
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the oysters and juice, breadcrumbs, herbs, lime zest and juice to the softened veg and mix well. Season with pepper (you won’t need salt because the oysters have enough).
  4. Divide the mixture into 12 even-sized balls and roll them into rugby ball shapes. Lay the pancetta slices on a board and place an oyster ball on each one, then wrap in the pancetta.
  5. Preheat your grill to its highest setting. Oil the grill pan, place the fritters on it and put to one side.
  6. For the dipping sauce, halve, peel and deseed the cucumber, then cut into 5 mm dice. Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients and toss to mix. Divide between 4 small dishes and set aside.
  7. For the salad, halve, peel, deseed and finely slice the cucumber. Finely slice the fennel, using a mandoline if you have one. Toss the cucumber, fennel and onion seeds together, season with a little salt and dress with the lime juice and olive oil.
  8. To cook the fritters, place them under the grill and cook for 3 minutes on one side, then carefully turn them and cook for another 3 minutes.
  9. Divide the salad between 4 starter plates and place a dish of dipping sauce on each one. Once the fritters are cooked, divide them between the plates and serve.
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