Salad of Beer-Battered Oysters, Greek Cress, Shiitake Mushrooms and Crispy Leeks on Raw Beef

With Ginger Dressing

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

This salad is totally delicious – Lewis, the editor of this book, and I scoffed it down after it was photographed and it makes an elegant meal. If you’re no fan of oysters, you could make it from prawns or scallops, and if you’re no fan of raw beef then you could make it from roast beef. However, it will not be quite as satisfactory and quite so fantastic. The oysters I used were huge – so three each were just enough. If you’re a big fan of them, like my father, Bruce, then you may need to serve more. I used Greek cress in this dish – if you can’t find any, replace it with watercress or rocket – something peppery is good. If you are deep-frying the oysters in a pot or pan (rather than a purpose-made deep-fryer), use a deep-sided pot. This will stop it spitting and splattering so much, and I find them a little safer than a shallow pan. However, what I always use at home is a wok – set on a secure wok base.

Ingredients

  • 16 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 500 g beef fillet, trimmed of any sinew and fat
  • 10 cm cut from the middle of a fat leek
  • 12 large oysters
  • vegetable oil for frying at a depth of at least 3 cm
  • handful of Greek cress

For the Ginger Dressing

  • 1 fat finger of peeled ginger
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar, lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • salt

For the Beer Batter

  • 120 g flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons sugar
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 ml beer

Method

First prepare the ginger dressing, cut the ginger into fine julienne strips and mix with the rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the beer batter, sieve the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Using a whisk as you pour, mix in the beer in a steady stream. If you keep mixing, you should get no lumps. Cover and put to one side.

Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to wilt them, then mix in the sesame oil and take off the heat.

Slice the beef fillet against the grain into round slices about 2–3 mm thick and lay these on 4 plates, spreading them out, then cover each plate with cling film and keep to one side away from any heat.

Cut the leek lengthways in half, then lay each half on a chopping board, cut side down, and cut into long thin strips.

Take the oysters out of their shells, or get them shucked by your fishmonger and lay on kitchen paper to remove excess moisture.

Heat the oil for deep-frying to 160°C. Add half the leek and cook, gently stirring to keep it cooking evenly, until it becomes golden. Should it go as far as dark brown, it will become bitter, while not cooked enough and it will be limp and tasteless. Remove the leek with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the remaining leek in the same way.

Increase the temperature of the oil to 180°C. Place 4 of the oysters in the batter and very gently coat them in it, then lower them into the oil. Cook until golden all over (if your oil is shallow, you’ll need to turn them over after a minute), then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest. Keep the cooked ones warm in a low oven with the door ajar. The oysters will spit a little as they cook – they are juicy creatures after all, so please do be careful as you cook them.

To Serve

Place a mound of Greek cress in the centre of the beef slices and scatter the shiitake and ginger, with the marinating vinegar, around it. Tuck 3 oysters into the cress and then lay the leeks on top. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve.