In 3 weeks I’m off to to Knysna to slurp oysters, sip wine and generally dive into some of the amazing food and wine activities on offer over the festival. I simply.can.not.wait.
I spent a few of my childhood holidays in Knysna because my grandparents retired there, so the place has a special place in my heart. It has obviously grown from a tiny village -when I was a child- to what it is today, and its home to the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, which takes place every year in July. I have often been over the week end of the marathon – and even ran the half once – but I have never been for the food part.
This year it will be all about that for me. The event sponsors have invited me to go and check it all out and report back on the deliciousness I find.
If you would like to win a pair of tickets to the Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna, valued at R300 (one of the events I will be attending), simply leave a comment below about an interesting story or anecdote about Knysna, or oysters. You can also leave a recipe for how you like to eat yours.
The event will be held on Wed 03 July, 18h00 - 23h00
I had it on the back of my mind to come up with an exciting recipe involving an oyster, and then I had lunch at the Foodbarn two Fridays ago. Franck made these oysters as part of his first course, and I was sent straight to heaven. As one of the most generous chefs I know, he has very kindly given me the recipe, and talked me through how to make it on the phone.
This is what they looked like at the Foodbarn.
If you in any way need to make friends, impress people or seduce a lover this is the perfect recipe for you.
Its quite a cheffy dish, but I have tried to make it as accessible to the home cook as possible, and let me assure you, its worth all the effort to make it. Franck makes it en masse in the restaurant, but I have altered the quantities down.
I used a crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc for the recipe, but you could use bubbly.
Makes 12 oysters
- 12 large oysters
- 1/3 cup (80ml) oyster juice (as they are shucked)
- 1 cup of dry white wine / champagne / Cap Classique
- 1 1/2 cups of cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 300g trimmed leeks, cut into think julienne
- 1 T olive oil
- 50g butter
- salt and pepper
Shuck the oysters and retain the juice that comes out of them. I got 1/3 of a cup. Strain the juice. Loosen the oysters from the shell and set them aside. Wash and dry the shells.
Bring the wine and oyster juice to the boil, and poach the oysters in the liquid for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Strain the liquid into a clean pot, add 1 cup of the cream and allow this to simmer until it reduces in half. This will take around 20 – 30 minutes.
While the sauce is reducing, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the leeks and butter. Saute until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of cream until stiff peaks, and in a separate bowl beat the 2 egg yolks. Fold the beaten egg into the cream. *this forms the ‘gratin mix’, and you will have more than required for the recipe, but I found it easier to whip a slightly larger quantity of cream. You could adjust to 80ml cream and 1 egg yolk if you prefer zero waste.
When the sauce has reduced allow it to cool, where it will further thicken. When cool, scoop out half a cup of the whipped cream / egg mixture and stir this through the sauce.
To prepare the pan, scrunch up a few sheets of tin foil on a baking pan and place the washed and dried shells on top. You want them to stand level and face up so that the liquid does not fall out. Fill each shell with about a teaspoon of leek mixture, top with a poached oyster, and then fill the shell with as much of the sauce as you can.
Place under a hot grill / broiler, until it just starts to go brown and bubble.
Serve immediately with a glass of dry white wine or bubbly, and knock the socks of your guests.
Check out the full list of events by clicking here, and be sure to follow @oysterfestival and me @drizzleanddip on Twitter to get all the updates between the 2nd and the 5th July. I kick off my visit at the Knysna Wine Festival and Night Market on the 2nd.
See you there!