Marco Pierre Whites oysters

Jean-Christophe Novelli demonstrates how to serve oysters in grand style, sitting in tagliatelle nests with cucumber and rich butter sauce
By Jean-Christophe Novelli
Marco Pierre Whites oysters
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: hard


For the sauce

  • 4 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 75 ml white wine vinegar
  • 225 g unsalted butter, cubed
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • lemon juice, to taste

For the garnish

  • 225 g cucumber, peeled and deseeded
  • 25 g butter
  • 225 g tagliatelle, cooked

For the oysters

  • 20 large fresh Pacific oysters, shelled, retaining the juices and rounded shell
  • fresh seaweed, and/or rock salt
  • tbsp black caviar, or a substitute such as herring roe
  • sprigs fresh chervil


1. To make the sauce, put the shallots in a saucepan with the vinegar and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for a minute or two to drive off the acidity and concentrate the flavours. Add a few drops of cold water and bring the mixture back to the boil.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and gently but quickly whisk in the butter piece by piece. Add a little lemon juice and leave the sauce to infuse for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, to prepare the garnish, cut the cucumber into julienne strips about 4cm long. Place in a pan with half the butter and just enough water to cover. Heat until just below boiling point then simmer gently until the cucumber is just tender. Drain, pat dry and keep warm.

4. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pass the sauce through a muslin-lined sieve, then taste and adjust seasoning again, if necessary. Set aside until shortly before serving.

5. Thoroughly scrub the rounded oyster shells. Place them in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil - this will both sterilize and warm the shells. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then drain and keep warm.

6. Strain the oyster juices to remove any traces of shell. Place the juices in a small saucepan and bring to the boil with a little water, if needed to make the volume of liquid deep enough to cover the oysters. Add the oysters and poach them gently over a low heat for 1 minute only until they are just firm to the touch. Drain the oysters, then pat them dry with a clean cloth and keep warm.

7. Just before serving, gently warm through the cooked tagliatelle in just enough water to cover the pasta, adding the remaining butter and seasoning to taste.

8. Gently re-heat the butter sauce.

9. Dress each plate with a bed of seaweed, rock salt, or both. Sit 5 of the warmed oyster shells securely on top of each mound.

10. Drain the tagliatelle thoroughly. Wind a couple of strands around a fork to make a little nest to sit inside each shell. Place an oyster on top of each tagliatelle nest, then cover with a few strips of cucumber.

11. Spoon the butter sauce gently over the oysters. Spoon a few grains of caviar on top of each. Garnish with the sprigs of chervil and serve.

Rate This Recipe