Mutton tartare with pan-roasted oysters & wild garlic flowers

Mutton tartare with pan-roasted oysters & wild garlic flowers

Andrew Montgomery

I first made this dish on the beautiful Isle of Sark, off the craggy coastline of northern France. The mutton I used grazed on the green pasture that I could see from the kitchen window. The oysters were fresh, round, briny and effortlessly delicious. Mutton tends to be roasted or braised and oysters are served glamorously raw – here, I’ve skewed the conventions a little.


Quantity Ingredient
sunflower oil, for deep frying
2-3 stems wild garlic flowers
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large knob butter
2 thyme sprigs
12 Oysters with sweet cicely & gooseberries, shucked,liquor reserved
150g mutton loin, well trimmed
1/2 lemon, juiced
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place a medium saucepan on a medium–high heat. Pour in sunflower oil to a depth of 3–4cm and bring it up to a frying temp of 165°C (if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, drop in a cube of bread – if it sizzles the oil is ready).
  2. Wash the wild garlic flowers and shake dry. To make the batter, combine the flour and cornflour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then add 3 tablespoons of water and whisk well to combine. Dip the flowers into the batter to coat, then drop them into the hot oil. As soon as they are lightly coloured and crisp (about 45 seconds), remove with tongs and drain on kitchen paper. Turn off the heat.
  3. Place a medium non-stick frying pan on a low–medium heat. Add a dash of olive oil and the butter and, when bubbling, add the thyme springs, then the oysters and their liquor. Cook the oysters for 5–6 minutes on each side, until they are dark and crisp, then turn off the heat. The liquor will have become deeply flavoured – scrape this up from the base but leave it in the pan with the oysters to keep warm.
  4. Trim any outer sinew, fat or aged membrane from the mutton loin to reveal the clean meat. Cut into thin slices, and then finely chop into 2–3mm pieces. Place the loin pieces in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then drizzle over 1 tablespoon of your best extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if required. To serve, divide the mutton tartare between two plates, put the oysters back on a low heat to warm through and then serve straight away next to the mutton, along with any buttery bits from the pan and the crisp wild garlic flowers.
River Cottage
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