Norwegian Oysters Three Ways
Not surprisingly oysters are easy to find in Norway. The country is surrounded by water from the warmer waters of the Skaggerak to the cold water of the North Atlantic. Careful protection of the environment has meant that shellfish such as oysters thrive in the crisp clean seas. We have two types of oyster in Norway, the native European oyster and the non-native Pacific oyster. The Pacific oyster is larger and grows faster than our native oysters and so have begun to be a threat to them.
To counter this, Norwegians are encouraged to take part in an "oyster dugnad" (if you've never heard of a dugnad you can read more about it here) in the summer months and collect Pacific oysters from the sea and either eat them or dispose of them to give our precious native fauna a chance to recover. It seems to be working because the native oysters once again are doing well and any trip to beach will tell you just that. In many places you only need to walk out ankle deep to be able to collect a bucket of oysters (Pacific of course) for the table. And if you happen to be in Norway and are in doubt as whether you can eat shellfsh you have collected yourself, the government has a very handy guide and weekly shellfish testing system that they publish online.
Oysters are amongst my favourite shellfish and I especially love to eat the shellfish I have collected myself. I always have a little helper in Mia, my youngest daughter who is also a huge fan of shellfish. Her favourites are the tiny little seasnails we call periwinkles, but she also enjoys the odd oyster.
Eating oysters raw with a squeeze of lemon is probably the best way to really enjoy their flavour, but when you want something a little different it's great to have a few quick and easy recipes to turn to. My three ways with oysters takes just a couple of minutes to prepare (you'll take longer shucking the oysters!) and adds a little touch of Scandinavia to them by making the most of ingredients that are so beloved here.
I have suggested 6 oysters for each recipe. To prepare them give them a good scrub on the outside and shuck them (open them). You can put them in the fridge at this point for a few hours until you are ready to eat them. Shucking oysters takes a little bit of practice, but you can watch a good guide here.
Oysters with Snøfrisk and Dill
100g snøfrisk or other fresh white goats cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon finely grated cheddar or other strong hard cheese
Salt and pepper to season
A few sprig of dill to garnish
Preheat the grill to a high setting.
Mix together the ingredients and place a teaspoonful into each oyster. Place under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and is started to brown slightly. Garnish with a few tiny sprigs of dill and serve straight away.
Oysters with Beetroot Mignonette
1 raw beetroot, peeled and finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
salt and pepper to season
Mix together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar has melted. Add all the other ingredients and season well with salt and pepper. Allow the dressing to stand for about 30 minutes before using. Spoon a small amount into each oyster being sure to get some of the liquid too. Serve immediately.
Oysters with Apple and Gherkin
1 small apple, cored and finely diced
1 large dill pickle or gherkin, finely diced
Squeeze lemon juice
Mix together all the ingredients and place half teaspoonfuls into each oyster. Serve immediately.
Vær så god!
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