Tea-smoked oyster salsa

Tea-smoked oyster salsa
Tea-smoked oyster salsa Photo: Marco del Grande
Dietary
Egg-free

When Jeremy celebrated 10 years' living in Australia, he held a dinner at Langton's Restaurant and Wine Bar in Melbourne. I was one of six chefs who produced the menu. Each of the chefs was a past or current colleague of his in the kitchen. I prepared the second course - a raw, a steamed and a smoked oyster for each diner. It was a truly memorable night. Here's the recipe for the smoked oyster.

Ingredients

Smoking mix

1/4 cup jasmine rice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup jasmine tea

Salsa

12 oysters, rinsed to remove grit*

1/2 avocado, finely diced

1/2 small cucumber, seeds removed, finely diced

1/2 bunch chives, finely sliced

Sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 tbsp lemon, juiced

Olive oil

* This is the only time I would suggest washing seafood with water as it removes the flavour - but grit will be stuck to the oyster once it is smoked.

Method

Line the bottom of a wok with a double layer of foil, leaving plenty of foil to the sides. Fold the excess foil over to create a "bowl" in the base of the wok. The "bowl" should be about 15cm in diameter on a regular-sized wok. Mix the rice, sugar and tea and place on the foil to an even thickness, about 1cm. Take a wok steaming rack and sit it above the smoking mix. Put oysters on rack.

Place over a high heat and, once smoke starts to billow, cover with a domed lid or another wok turned upside down. Smoke on high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Make sure the extractor fan is on or the windows are open. Once cool enough, remove oysters and chop roughly.

Place in a bowl with avocado, cucumber and chives. Season well with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.

Stir gently and serve on Chinese spoons or in washed-and-dried oyster shells.