Grilled lemon sole with crispy oysters, cucumber, horseradish and lemon

Grilled lemon sole with crispy oysters, cucumber, horseradish and lemon

British Seafood
David Loftus

Lemon sole is surprisingly good with oysters, which feature twice in this dish – in the sauce and as deep-fried breadcrumbed nuggets, which provide a crisp contrast in texture. Married with cucumber and horseradish, this has become one of our most popular choices on the menu. On their own, the crispy oysters are a great little snack for a drinks party.


Quantity Ingredient
1 large lemon sole, filleted and skinned, about 800 g
or 2 smaller 500 g fish, filleted and skinned
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
cornish sea salt

Cucumber and horseradish sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 cucumber
50g fresh horseradish, peeled and grated
1 shallot, peeled and diced
50ml white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 oysters, shucked, juices retained, (see note)
250ml sunflower oil

Cucumber and lemon dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons dill, chopped
1 lemon, peel and pith removed, segmented
100ml Lemon oil

Crispy oysters

Quantity Ingredient
4 oysters, shucked, juices retained, (see note)
flour, to dust
1 egg, beaten
100g japanese panko breadcrumbs
oil, for deep-frying


  1. For the cucumber and horseradish sauce, peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh. Put the horseradish, shallot, wine vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor, add the cucumber and blitz for 3 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl, twisting and squeezing the cloth until you can’t extract any more juice. Set aside.
  2. Put the egg yolks, lemon juice and oysters, with their juices (and those from the crispy oysters), into a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until it is all incorporated and you have a thick mayonnaise. Set aside.
  3. For the cucumber and lemon dressing, mix the diced cucumber, chopped dill and lemon pieces together and bind with the lemon oil.
  4. For the crispy oysters, drain the oysters, reserving the juices. Put the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs into 3 separate bowls. Pass the oysters through the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C. Oil the grill tray and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Lay the lemon sole fillets on the tray and place under the grill. They will take no more than 4 minutes to cook; keep a close eye on them to avoid overcooking. At the same time, deep-fry the breaded oysters in the hot oil for 2 minutes until golden.
  7. To finish the sauce, put the cucumber and horseradish stock and the mayonnaise into a pan and whisk together over a low heat; do not allow to boil otherwise the sauce will curdle.
  8. Spoon the sauce equally into 4 warmed bowls and place a breaded oyster on top. Using a palette knife, carefully lay a lemon sole fillet over the oyster and then spoon over the dressing. Serve straight away.

Opening oysters

  • I find an oyster knife isn’t the best implement for shucking an oyster unless you’ve one with a small blade; I prefer a sturdy butter-knife-sized knife.

    Hold the oyster flat side up in a folded tea towel (for protection), in one hand. Insert the knife into the hinge of the oyster and wiggle at the hinge, using a little force, until you hear a popping sound and it yields. Run the knife along the roof of the flat side to cut the attaching muscle and release the oyster from the top shell. Using the same knife, carefully cut away the same muscle from the bottom shell and flip the oyster over in the shell, being careful to retain all the juices. The oyster is now ready.
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