The first time I ate an oyster I was about eight or nine years old and on a family holiday in Brittany. My dad bought a dozen or so, along with some mussels, which we took back to the campsite and opened. I've liked them ever since and often order them when I'm eating out. I firmly believe they are best served alone.
For me, the native oyster is the best although they are more expensive and you can only buy them between September and March. A native oyster will take at least three times longer to grow than a farmed rock oyster and that's reflected in the price, so to keep costs down I've chosen to use rock oysters here.
Warm oyster with fennel seed sabayon
12 x medium-sized rock oysters
1 clove of garlic
200ml white wine
200ml double cream
3 egg yolks
Half tsp fennel seeds
Set the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Start by cleaning the oysters then shucking them open, removing the tough muscle to detach the meat from the shell and reserving the juice. Place the oysters aside in their shells.
Peel and finely dice the shallot and garlic and add them to a small pan with the white wine. Bring the liquid to the boil and reduce by half (which should take roughly 5 minutes). Now add the reserved oyster juice and double cream and reduce this by half before straining the mixture into a bowl through a fine sieve.
Add the egg yolks, a small squeeze of lemon juice and mix thoroughly with a handheld stick blender so that the sabayon becomes light and airy.
Now scatter some fennel seeds over each oyster and drizzle the sabayon over the top. Put them in the oven for 2 minutes to warm through, then place them under a hot grill to give the top a light golden colour.
Domaine A, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Stoney Vineyard, Tasmania (Alliance Wines, £25)
A rich sauvignon blanc with tropical fruit flavours, a modest level of alcohol and a citrusy acidity on the finish to provide balance.
The Honours, 58a North Castle Street, Edinburgh. Visit www.thehonours.co.uk or call 0131 220 2513.