The better quality Champagne or Méthode Champenoise you use for this recipe, the better your jelly will taste. You can serve the remaining Champagne with the dish if you wish.
24 fresh oysters with their juice
100 ml Champagne
50 ml water
4 gelatine leaves
freshly ground pepper, salt to taste if necessary
2 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup stale rye bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100 grams rock salt
24 chervil leaves
The ultimate date night recipe, we suggest pairing this indulgent starter with the award-winning Te Kairanga John Martin Chardonnay 2015.
Open the oysters and tip them into a sieve over a bowl to catch the juice. Wipe the oysters to remove any grit or shell but do not wash them. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften.
Strain the oyster juice through a fine sieve or muslin to remove any shell. You should get about 50 ml from this many oysters.
Pour the Champagne, oyster juice and water into a saucepan and heat slowly to a boil. Remove from the heat, season with pepper and taste for salt. Squeeze the water from the gelatine and add to the warmed liquid, stirring to dissolve.
Pour the jelly into a shallow oblong dish and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set – about 3 hours. This can be done the day before.
When the jelly has set, slice it evenly to make tiny cubes of jelly, then dice the cubes roughly so the jelly has lots of sparkle.
Crumb: Cut the bread into small cubes and place in the food processor. Pulse until you have medium to fine breadcrumbs.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and when it starts to bubble add the breadcrumbs and chives. Stir until they are golden and crisp. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and pour out onto an absorbent paper towel.
Assembly: Take 24 Chinese spoons and place a teaspoon of toasted breadcrumbs in the bottom of each spoon. Place a chilled oyster on top of the breadcrumbs then spoon some of the jelly cubes on top. Garnish with a chervil leaf and serve nestled on a bed of rock salt with a glass of Champagne. Makes 24