Pickled Oysters with Cucumber & Dill

Pickled Oysters with Cucumber & Dill

by Thomas Keller, The French Laundry Cookbook

Pickling liquid:

1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 star anise
3 cloves
6 coriander seeds
3 dill stems
6 oysters


1 cucumber, peeled
1/2 t kosher salt
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 t dill, chopped
1 oz. sevruga caviar
6 sprigs dill

For the pickling liquid: Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. This is enough liquid to pickle up to 2 dozen oysters.

For the oysters: Shuck the oysters. Wash the deeper halves of the shells and reserve. Using scissors, cut away the muscle portion of the oysters and discard. Wash the trimmed oysters under cold running water to remove the milky residue, which would coagulate with the vinegar in the pickling liquid and create an unwanted coating on the oyster. Add the oysters to the pickling liquid and refrigerate in a covered container for at least 12 hours and up to 36 hours.

For the "capellini": Using a mandolin, cut 1/16-inch lengthwise slices form one side of the cucumber until you reach the seeds. Turn the cucumber and continue slicing for all four sides. Stack the slices and cut them lengthwise in 1/16-inch julienne strips to resemble capellini. You will need 1 cup of "capellini." Combine the cucumber strands with the kosher salt and rice wine vinegar in a bowl and allow them to marinate for about 30 minutes to extract the excess liquid. Drain the "capellini" and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Place in a bowl and toss with the chopped dill.

To complete: place a bed of seaweed or rock salt mix one each of 6 serving plates. Twirl the cucumber with a fork, as you would pasta, and place a mound on each oyster shell. Remove the oysters from the pickling liquid and place an oyster on each mound of cucumber. Garnish each oyster with 1 t of caviar and a sprig of dill.

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