Paddock To Plate

Today, the meat from pearl oysters is considered a delicacy and carries a hefty price tag. Matt checks out the wild oyster beds, and creates a delicate and elegant dish. 


  • 200 gm pearl meat

  • 200 ml lime juice

  • 2 tbsp Spanish onion (about 1/3 small onion), very finely diced

  • 1 birds-eye chilli, de-seeded, very finely diced

  • ½ long green chilli, de-seeded, very finely diced

  • ¼ sweet banana chilli, de-seeded and very finely diced

  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced

  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and thin sliced

  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin

  • ¼ cup mixed lemon, lime and grapefruit segments

  • 1 tsp finger lime pearls

  • Coriander leaves, to serve

  • Coconut Dressing

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp each of julienned galangal and ginger, julienned

  • 6 coriander roots

  • 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large chilli, halved lengthways

  • 300 ml coconut cream

  • 1 tsp lime juice

  • ½ tsp fish sauce


  • 1.

    Thinly slice the pearl meat on the diagonal to 2mm thick, place in a non-reactive bowl (glass or porcelain), pour over the lime juice, then add the onion, chillies and lime leaves, stir to combine, cover and refrigerate (15-20 minutes, the pearl meat will become opaque).

  • 2.

    Meanwhile, to prepare the coconut dressing heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and add the ginger, galangal, coriander roots, lemongrass and chilli and sauté until fragrant (2 minutes). Add the coconut cream, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauces thickens and flavours infuse (1 minute).  Taste and season with the fish sauce and lime juice. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl (press on solids to extract all liquid, then discard solids) and chill until ready to serve.

  • 3.

    To serve, add cucumber, radish, citrus segments and finger lime pearls to the pearl meat mixture and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates, spoon a little coconut dressing over each and serve scattered with coriander.

  • Note:

  • 1.

    Finger limes are seasonally available from specialist greengrocers. Halve lengthways then squeeze out the pearls.

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