Poached oysters with dry vermouth and cucumber

Martin Blunos's romantic starter for two is guaranteed to impress with its plump native oysters and delectable butter sauce
By Martin Blunos
Poached oysters with dry vermouth and cucumber
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • ½ cucumber
  • 6 Colchester oysters
  • 100 ml fish stock
  • 30 ml dry vermouth
  • 50 g unsalted butter, diced
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 handfuls blanched seaweed, to serve
  • cayenne pepper, for sprinkling

Tips and Suggestions

To prepare the seaweed for serving, plunge it into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain. Refresh under cold running water and set aside to drain completely.


1. Halve the cucumber lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into thin julienne or matchsticks and set aside.

2. Shuck the oysters into a bowl and reserve their juices. Discard the flat top shells of the oysters but keep the rounded sides.

3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the rounded oyster shells and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the shells and pick out any remnants within. Set aside in a warm place.

4. Combine the fish stock and vermouth in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the oysters and their juices and poach gently for 2-3 minutes. Lift out the oysters with a slotted spoon and set aside in a warm place.

5. Add the shredded cucumber to the saucepan and allow it to heat through for about 1 minute, just to soften.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually incorporate the diced butter, shaking the pan gently from side to side to encourage the sauce to emulsify.

7. Put the oysters back in the sauce and season with lemon juice.

8. Arrange the hot shells on a bed of seaweed. Fill each shell with some of the cucumber and top with an oyster. Spoon over the remaining butter sauce, sprinkle with a little cayenne and serve.

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