Oysteria from Australia's best chefs
The House of Oysters - Bernard Lloyd and Paul County
The House of Oysters is filled with interesting, trivial, historical and delicious information on the Pacific oyster - specifically those raised in the cool waters surrounding Tasmania, where they reach oyster perfection.
Oyster-enjoyment is a culture within a culture - like a club where membership is gained through simple love (and sometimes insatiable obsession) of the characteristic, unctuous bivalve.
The House of Oysters is clearly structured and beautifully designed with chapters cleverly titled 'Oysterhood' - about the life of the oyster - or 'Oysteria', covering the history of Tasmanian oysters.
Perhaps the most enticing part of the book is the 'Oysterize' chapter - 82 pages dedicated to recipes and photographs featuring the not-so-humble mollusc. The 55 recipes of varying degrees of difficulty have been written by a selection of leading Australian chefs from restaurants around the Australia, including Will Foreman, Teage Ezard, Justin North, Serge Dansereau, Simon West and Karen Goodwin-Roberts.
The recipes are balanced in that there are some simple, pure flavours that work; Maggie Beer's Oyster Verjuice Vinaigrette was simple to combine and worked wonders on some fresh Sydney Rock oysters. The classic retro contribution of oysters with avocado and crabmeat, from John Doyle of Doyle's Restaurant in Watsons Bay in Sydney, may not be everybody's thing but is a fun recipe with sweet creamy flavours.
Oysters Kilpatrick are given a modern twist with pan-fried flat oysters and glazed pork belly – a slightly complex recipe for the more adventurous cook; it results in a wild mix of sweet salty texture. And to end? Oyster stout ice cream by chef Simon Townsend.
The House of Oysters itself is a construct of artist Tom Samek; evocative photos of the miniature house (built of oyster shells) conjure up scenes of the Tasmanian foreshore as early settlers might have experienced it - with oysters in abundance on the rocks.
The beauty of this book lies in its approachability and diversity. It's a resource as well as a cook book. A book with something for everyone - everyone who loves oysters... and even for those who don't, it's elegance will adorn your kitchen collection for years to come.
Published by Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and Restaurant, Cambridge, Tasmania (2008). Available from Barilla Bay direct or through select book and food retailers in Tasmania and interstate. RRP $29.95
- Coal River Valley (TAS)
- East Coast and Tasman Peninsula (TAS)
- Southern Tasmania (TAS)
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