Oysters in Cucumber Jelly with Red Wine Vinegar
The European cucumbers used in this recipe are the long cucumbers wrapped in plastic sold in supermarkets. The skin is thinner than traditional American cucumbers, and they have fewer seeds. If using American cucumbers, peel and seed them; do not use the peel, as it has been waxed. The salty taste of the fresh raw oysters blends perfectly with the cucumber flavor. Chef Rodolphe uses sea water to make the jelly; here, we substitute water and sea salt.
- Cucumber Jelly
- Unflavored gelatin - 2 packets
- Cold Water - 1/3 cup
- European cucumbers - 2, peeled and roughly chopped
- Water - 3 cups
- Sea salt
- Cucumber Cream
- European cucumbers - 2
- Shallot - 1, minced
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups, beaten to firm peaks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Shallots - 4, minced very fine
- Fresh oysters - 24
- Dulse (seaweed) - 2 cups
- Finely chopped ice
- Cucumber - 1/2, scored and cut in thin slices
- Chervil - 1 small, bunch
To make the jelly: Place the gelatin in the 1/3 cup cold water and set aside to soften. Place the cucumber and half the peelings in a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth; reserve the cucumber liquid. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved. Strain the cucumber liquid through cheesecloth again into the water mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let any particles settle. Pour the clear portion into a baking pan or dish and refrigerate until jelled.
To make the cucumber cream: Cut a 3-inch section from one of the cucumber and score the skin. Slice on a mandoline or V-slicer into very thin slices. Set aside the slices for garnish. Chop the remainder of the cucumbers into very small dice. Put the shallots and vinegar in a non-aluminum saucepan and cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and add the diced cucumber. Let cool slightly. Season the whipped cream with salt and pepper to taste. Fold the cooled cucumber-shallot mixture into the whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Clean the oysters on the outside. Open the shells and detach the oysters from the shells; let drain. Rinse and dry half the shells for service.
To serve: Place a large mound of dulse in each of four large shallow bowls. Surround with chopped ice. Nestle six reserved oyster shells in the ice in each bowl. Place a large spoonful of cucumber cream in each of the oyster shells. Place an oyster in each. Roughly chop the jelly with the edge of a spoon. Cover the oysters with chopped cucumber jelly. Cut the reserved cucumber slices half way to their centers; twist and place around the edges of the bowls. Garnish with chervil sprigs.