For some people, just slipping oysters down raw is the only way to eat them, but if you prefer them cooked, this is a great way to prepare them. Topped with a mixture of potato, fennel and spinach, they make a substantial starter. Ask the fishmonger to open the oysters for you. Serve with warm pitta bread slices.
For a spicy almond topping, use 55 g (2 oz) slivered almonds instead of potatoes. Roughly chop the nuts in a blender or food processor, or by hand, and mix with 1–2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, ½ small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add this mixture to the cooked shallot and fennel, together with 55 g (2 oz) white breadcrumbs and the juice of ½ lemon. Mix well, then add the spinach and finish as in the main recipe. * Replace the fennel and spinach with 55 g (2 oz) smoked back bacon, finely chopped, and 100 g (3½ oz) Savoy cabbage, finely shredded. Add some toasted cumin seeds or caraway seeds for extra flavour.
Oysters have long been linked with aphrodisiac powers, probably because they are an excellent source of zinc which is essential for growth and sexual maturity. * Although spinach appears to be an excellent source of iron, the iron isn't easily absorbed by the body. However, the vitamin C from the lemon juice in this recipe will help the absorption.
B1, B6, B12, niacin, copper, zinc * A, iron * C, folate, calcium, potassium