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Butter-Poached Oysters

By John Ash

This very simple recipe lets the flavor of the oyster shine. It’s a recipe from my new book: The Hog Island Book of Fish and Seafood. It would work well with the crisp, lemony flavors and fruit of the 2021 Les Pierres Chardonnay.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level


    2 tablespoons water

    1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

    2 dozen extra small or small oysters, shucked, liquor reserved

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    Pinch of kosher salt

    1 teaspoon minced fresh chives Caviar (optional, but very nice)


    1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Quickly whisk in the butter, a few cubes at a time, to make an emulsified sauce. Turn the heat to low and whisk in 1 or 2 tablespoons of reserved oyster liquor. Add the oysters, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

    2. Poach the oysters until they just begin to firm, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Gently stir in the chives and divide the oysters among 4 small, warm plates. Top with caviar, if using, and serve at once.

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