Karlie Verkerk - Oysters
with Cucumber, Gin and Fennel
Serves 4, as a shared entrée
4 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and juiced, skin reserved
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
Gin Compressed Cucumbers
1 Continental cucumber, peeled
Reserved cucumber and lime juice
½ cup gin
Cucumber Skin Chips
Reserved Lebanese cucumber skin
1 tbsp juniper berries
1½ tsp salt flakes
12 freshly shucked oysters, juice reserved and strained
½ cup thickened cream
Salt, to taste
12 freshly shucked oysters
Bronze fennel fronds, dehydrated in oven
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- For the Cucumber Granita, combine ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture for the Gin Compressed Cucumbers and set aside until needed. Place the remaining mixture into a small baking tray and freeze until crystals start forming around the edges. Once crystallised, use a fork to scrape the granita, then return to the freezer to freeze for a further 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process until all liquid is frozen. Reserve the granita in the freezer until ready to serve.
- For the Gin Compressed cucumbers, cut cucumber in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scrape out seeds, then cut into 1cm-wide half moons.
- Place cucumber pieces inside a vacuum bag with reserved cucumber granita mixture, along with the gin. Seal the bag in a vacuum seal machine, removing most of the air in the bag. Set the bag aside in fridge for 20 minutes to infuse. Once infused, remove the bag from the fridge, open and drain cucumbers through a fine sieve, discarding the liquid. Transfer the cucumbers to a small bowl and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Place the reserved cucumber skins on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in the pre-heated oven and until dark golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove chips from oven and set aside to cool on the tray until ready to serve.
- For the Juniper Salt, place ingredients into a spice grinder and blitz to a fine powder. Set aside in a small bowl until ready to serve.
- For the Oyster Cream, place oysters in the canister of a stick blender. Blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, add reserved oyster juice and cream and whisk until thick. Season with salt to taste, then transfer to a piping bag and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To serve, arrange 6 half moons of Gin Compressed Cucumber around the serving platter, some laying down and some standing up. Pipe 3 mounds of Oyster Cream between the slices of cucumber. Top with fresh oysters. Sprinkle over a little lime zest and Juniper Salt. Top with small spoons of Cucumber Granita on top and around the plate. Top with Cucumber Skin Chips, bronzed fennel fronds and borage flowers.