Top 50 Gastropubs

Oyster Veloute with Smoked Eel and Pickled Apple

By Dave Wall

4 oysters, plus 4 for garnish, omissible if you’re whole oyster adverse!

1 small leek, finely sliced

1 small potato, peeled and finely sliced

125g butter

300ml veg stock

300ml double cream

Juice of half a lemon

200g smoked eel fillet, diced (2cm)

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced (1cm)

Splash of chardonnay vinegar (or good white wine vinegar)

Leaves from the heart of a celery

Unruly Pig rightfully took first place at this year’s Top 50 Gastropubs event in January for their creative menus and delicious plates. We wanted to give you the opportunity to create this award-winning food at home. Owner Brendan Padfield kindly shared this Oyster Veloute recipe with us saying

‘A velouté is just a silky, smooth soup. At The Unruly Pig, I am delighted that velouté now has a very faithful following, so it is rare for velouté not to feature on my menu in one way or another. The inspiration for this dish is the beautiful coastal village of Orford, just 10 miles up the road from the pub. Not only do we get our lobsters and much of our fish/shellfish from here, but Orford also has oyster beds!‘

Method

First step is opening the oysters. This is a challenge unto itself! Using an oyster knife is imperative and I strongly recommend a Youtube tutorial, take your time, work safely and have fun with it.

Once you have the oysters open tip all of the meat along with the juices into a bowl. Wash the oysters in their own juice and then individually gently lift them into another bowl. Strain the juice through a fine sieve back over the oysters and reserve in the fridge until needed.

In a heavy bottomed pan, gently sweat the leeks with a pinch of salt in the butter over a medium heat for a few minutes until they start to soften up. Add the potato and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent either from colouring.

Add the stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the potato has softened, then add the cream and bring it to a gentle simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Add 4 oysters and all of the juices and blend the veloute, ensuring it is lovely and smooth. Pass the soup through a fine sieve, pushing through with the back of a ladle if it needs any encouragement. Taste again, adding more salt if required, and add the lemon juice just to cut through the richness a touch.

Dress the diced apple with the vinegar and allow to sit for 5 minutes, before arranging in a bowl with the smoked eel and celery leaf. Pour over the hot soup.