oysters and chorizo
Oysters with salsify and chorizo

A deep and wonderfully rich autumn sauté. Quick, simple and unusual – catch the season’s oysters while they’re at their best. I like this recipe’s balance of ingredients from the earth, land and sea, and with them all the tones of the woodland in October.


8-10 live oysters
About 200g of good chorizo sausage 2 cloves garlic
4 salsify, peeled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch chives, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Bring a pan of fresh salted water to the boil. Cook the salsify for 8-10 mins or until just tender. Drain and allow to cool. Cut the salsify into 5-8 cm pieces.

Open the oysters and leave them in the shell in their juices until you’re ready to cook them. To “shuck oysters” (open them up) you need an oyster knife (one with a sturdy, short blade that won’t bend easily) and a tea towel to protect your hand from the sharp shell. Fold the tea towel up so it’s triple thickness. Hold the oyster cupped side down in the tea towel with the hinge facing towards you, place and hold firmly on a chopping board. Look for any gaps between the two shells. If you can locate one, usually in the upper right-hand corner of the oyster, then insert the knife tip downwards between the two shells. If an opening is not so obvious, don’t worry – continue to carefully and confidently urge the knife

in. Once in, move the blade across the top of the shell. This will release the oyster and allow you to remove and discard the top shell. Slide the knife blade underneath the oyster and cut the adductor muscle that attaches it to the bottom shell. The oyster will now be free, alive and ready to eat along with the delicious liquor that should remain in the shell.

Place a large frying pan over a medium/ high heat. Add the olive oil followed by the salsify. Fry, tossing occasionally until beginning to colour, for 6-8 mins. Add the chorizo and continue to cook, turning regularly for a further 3-4 mins. The sausage should just begin to crisp and give up its wonderful paprika-spiked oils. 4. Now add the oysters and their juices, the garlic and chives. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 mins.

Serve the sauté straight away with good bread, red wine and coffee to finish.