Smoked oysters with beetroot, horseradish, crème fraîche & dill

Smoked oysters with beetroot, horseradish, crème fraîche & dill

Andrew Montgomery

This recipe is not difficult, none of it: not cooking the sweet, earthy beetroot, not making the bright dill dressing, not even the quick task of hot-smoking the oysters (you’ll need a few small pieces of hard wood for this). It’s all simple and fun. The difficult bit is dealing with the fact you’ve eaten it... you’ve eaten it and there is none left... .


Quantity Ingredient
6 small beetroot, plus any leaves
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 small bunch dill, chopped
2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
3-4 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve
8 Oysters with sweet cicely & gooseberries, shucked and left in their half-shells
2 slices rye bread
butter, for spreading
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Twist the tops off the beetroot, if they have them, and reserve any nice, tender leaves. Give the beetroots a quick wash and place them in a pan along with a good pinch of salt. Cover with water, place the pan over a high heat and bring the water to the boil. Cook for 15–25 minutes, until you can pierce them easily with a knife. (Cooking time will vary depending on how large and how fresh the beetroots are.)
  2. Drain the beetroots and leave them to cool. Once they have cooled, quarter the larger beetroots and halve the smaller ones. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine the crème fraîche with most of the dill and the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Place a large heavy-based pan with a close-fitting lid over a high heat. Drop in a small handful of hard-wood pieces (such as oak or beech, or any fruit wood) and the thyme sprigs, then replace the lid. The wood will begin to smoke after a few minutes. Lift the lid and add the oysters so they sit levelly in their shells between the chunks of wood. Replace the lid. Smoke the oysters in the pan for 3–4 minutes, until the oysters have retracted a little, are firm to the touch and cooked through, then lift them out by their shells. (You may have to smoke the oysters in two batches.)
  5. Toast the rye bread, allow to cool slightly, then spread generously with butter. Place one slice of toast on each plate, divide the beetroot equally between them and spoon over the crème fraîche. Remove the warm smoked oysters from their shells and place them on top. Finish each plate with a scattering more of dill, and serve.
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