Raw oysters, cucumber jelly and dill cream

Raw oysters, cucumber jelly and dill cream

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

This dish is a fantastic starter for a special occasion meal, because the presentation is a real show-piece. To me, oysters smell a bit like cucumber, so it makes sense to pair them. Here, the touch of dill and horseradish gives them a lift and a little bit of oomph! Source your oysters carefully – they must be very fresh, especially when you’re eating them raw.


Quantity Ingredient
15 live oysters
1 cucumber
20ml white wine vinegar
15g caster sugar
4 sheets bronze leaf gelatine
200ml double cream
30g good-quality creamed horseradish
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
dill or fennel fronds, to finish
seaweed, to serve (optional)


  1. Open the oysters and strain off their juice through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Wash and reserve 12 shells. Carefully rinse each oyster in the strained juice, then place on a clean tray. Trim if necessary, then cover and chill until required.
  2. Roughly chop the cucumber and put it into a blender with the wine vinegar, sugar and 3 oysters. Strain the oyster juice again and add it to the blender. Blitz for 1 minute, then strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve. Measure out 200 ml; reserve the rest.
  3. Soak 2 gelatine leaves in a shallow dish of cold water. Meanwhile, heat 50 ml of the measured liquid (until hot but not boiling), then take off the heat. Drain the gelatine and squeeze out excess water, then add to the warm liquid, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the rest of the measured liquid and set this molten jelly aside.
  4. Measure another 100 ml of the oyster and cucumber liquid into a pan, add the cream and horseradish and whisk together. Soak the remaining 2 gelatine leaves in cold water. Heat the cream mixture, until hot enough to dissolve the gelatine, then add the gelatine and whisk to dissolve. Strain through a sieve into a jug.
  5. Lay out the oyster shells on something to keep the shells level and straight (I use a large egg box but you could use a muffin tray).
  6. Stir the chopped dill into the cream. Carefully pour the cream mixture into the oyster shells, dividing it equally, and place in the fridge to set for 1 hour.
  7. Once the cream has set, add an oyster to each shell and spoon on the molten jelly to cover. Put back in the fridge to set; this should take less than 30 minutes.
  8. To serve, arrange the oysters on a bed of seaweed (or pebbles) on a large serving platter or individual plates and garnish with feathery dill or fennel fronds.
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