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Smoked Oysters

Before I became a gentrified cook totally obsessed with fresh and seasonal I sometimes use to make an excellent fresh and smoked oyster soup, yes, with canned smoked oysters. Given that we smoke everything from quail, to cheese, to ducks and duck breasts why not oysters? All you need is a hooded barbecue and a rack that stands about 5cm above the grill. AO

for the smoke mix
200g brown sugar
50g Black China or Jasmin tea
rind of 2 mandarins
20g whole cloves
20g fennel seeds

pre heat the barbecue for 15 minutes
Working quickly, cover the grill with a double layer of foil spread the sugar on top and then the tea and finally the other ingredients.
Close the hood and set a timer for 8 minutes. In the meantime set the oysters on the rack. When the timer goes, and as long as the smoke mix has started to smoke put the rack on top of the smoke mix and close the hood. Set a timer for 15 minutes if you have just shucked the oysters 20 minutes if they have been shucked and in the fridge for a few hours. When the timer goes, turn off the heat and let stand for another 15 minutes.

These lightly smoked oysters are scrumptious as a canapé on buttered toast with little chopped red onion and black pepper, in a salad and give our New Orleans Oyster Soup a fabulous zing.