Gastronomixs

Oyster, pear and pine

Sam Buckley is a British chef who was trained at L’Enclume** and opened his own restaurant in 2016, called Where the Light Gets In. Nothing that Sam does can be called ‘normal’. His restaurant doesn’t offer any paper menus or wine lists. Actually, it goes one step further and you don’t even get to choose at all. Sam only works with products that he was able to source on that day from his producers and fishers. This gives the guests a different freedom of choice: the freedom from choice. This means that the products that Sam uses are almost always locally produced. Even the waste-processing system that Sam uses is unique. He ensures that his products are used from head to tail or from leaf to roots in the dishes he creates. He ferments a great deal and creates powders from residual products. If anything does get left over, it goes straight onto the composting heap.

Sam is a creative spirit whose creativity is not just restricted to the plate. He also plays bass guitar and loves to travel around the world when he gets a moment. During his travels he searches for inspiration for his dishes. This gives each dish its own unique story. He encourages his chefs, who serve the dishes, to tell these stories in their own way.

Sam about this dish: ‘We serve this dish at either end of the main oyster season. In spring when the sauce and fir are undergoing new growth and in the autumn when the pines are crisp and dropping their cones filled with resinous sap. This is also the time during which the pears are just coming into their last phase and are soft and filled with juice or still have a little crunch and tart flavour. We use two types of pears to get the best of both worlds. At either time of the season, it acts as a crisp, clean salad placed somewhere at the beginning of the menu.’ 

Creation by Sam Buckley, Where the Light Gets In Restaurant, Stockport, United Kingdom.

Serves 6.

Oyster, pear and pine

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Ingredients

6

 

cold-water oysters (such as Carlingford)

1

 

Williams pear

1

 

kohlrabi

 

 

fresh new season spruce tips

250

ml

grapeseed oil

500

g

Douglas fir needles, fresh

1.5

l

vinegar, distilled

500

g

spruce tips

3

 

eggs

50

ml

spruce vinegar

250

ml

Douglas fir oil

 

 

sea salt

2

 

Conference pears

2

 

Williams pears

1.5

sheets

bronze gelatin

1

 

Williams pear

Preparation method: oysters
  • Steam the oysters in their shells in a combi oven at 65°C for ten minutes.
  • Remove from the combi steamer and chill as quickly as possible in a blast chiller or on ice.
  • Shuck the oysters and keep in the fridge, setting aside the juices for later.
Preparation method: Douglas fir oil
  • The Douglas fir oil can be made the day before by placing the fresh Douglas fir needles in a thermomix along with the grapeseed oil.
Preparation method: spruce vinegar
  • The vinegar must be prepared at least two weeks in advance but is a simple way to produce a flavourful vinegar.
  • Place the distilled vinegar into a kilner jar with the fresh spruce tips.
  • Set aside for two weeks until the vinegar has taken on a strong spruce aroma.
  • Blend the vinegar on full speed to reach 70°C for seven minutes.
  • Leave to infuse overnight and pass through a cheese cloth the next morning.
Preparation method: pine emulsion
  • Place the eggs in a pan of boiling water for two minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Remove and chill in cold water.
  • Peel the eggs and carefully remove the egg white keeping the yolk fully intact.
  • Blend the egg yolks with the pine vinegar and a pinch of salt in a thermomix.
  • Slowly add the Douglas fir oil in a thin stream to create a mayonnaise-like consistency.
  • Check seasoning for salt and vinegar.
Preparation method: kohlrabi tagliatelle
  • Peel the kohlrabi and remove the top and tail.
  • Load the kohlrabi onto a Japanese mandolin and turn until you have one long ribbon. Now take the ribbon and slice it into 30cm threads.
  • Cut each thread length-wise until you have long, tagliatelle-like strands.
Preparation method: pear jelly
  • Juice the William pears and Conference pears.
  • From the juice take 150ml of each variety.
  • Bloom the gelatin in water.
  • Add the soaked gelatin to a small amount of the juice in a pan and heat gently until the gelatin has melted.
  • Add the content of the pan to the rest of the juice, pass, and leave to set in the fridge in a small container. 
Preparation method: pear
  • Peel the pear and cut into 5mm slices.
  • Compress the pears in the remaining pear juice using a vac-pack machine or simply store the pears in the juice to keep them from oxidising.
Finishing and presentation
  • Place a spoonful of the emulsion into the centre of a shallow bowl.
  • Place one oyster on top.
  • Mince the jelly with a fork and place three spoonfuls around the oyster.
  • Cover the oyster with thinly sliced pieces of compressed pear.
  • Take the 30cm strands of kohlrabi and starting from the outer edge of the emulsion, spiral towards the oyster, covering it completely.
  • Spritz the kohlrabi with pine vinegar.
  • Garnish the top with six needles.

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