Oysters with Shiso Granita


2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

14 fresh shiso leaves (or large fresh basil leaves)

2 tbsps yuzu juice

18 small oysters such as Kumomoto, shigoku, or kusshi

rock salt or coarse sea salt, for serving


Designed to pair with SIMI Sparkling Wine

Serves 6

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and 12 of the shiso leaves and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a shallow, flat-bottomed pan or dish. Stir in the yuzu juice. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Pull the container out of the freezer and scrape and stir the mixture with a fork to break it up into little crystal chunks, being careful to scrape down the sides as well. Return the container to the freezer for 1 hour, then repeat the scraping and stirring. Repeat this process until the granita is a good, uniform consistency of fluffy, small crystals. Transfer the granita to an airtight container and store in the freezer until serving or up to 24 hours.

To open the oysters, working with one at a time, grasp it with your nondominant hand, preferably with a folded towel for a better grip, with the hinge end facing you and the rounded end facing away from you. Insert the tip of an oyster knife or other short, sturdy blade into the dark area on the hinge end and twist forcefully to break the hinge. Run the knife between the oyster meat and top shell to sever the adductor muscle, then remove and discard the top shell. Run the knife under the oyster to free it from the bottom shell, leaving the oyster in the cupped bottom shell. Replace the oyster in the bottom shell and set aside on a sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

To serve, stack the remaining 2 shiso leaves, roll them up lengthwise, and cut crosswise to yield fine shreds (chiffonade). If using rock salt, arrange a bed of rock salt on each of six serving plates. Divide the oysters evenly among the plates. Top each oyster with a little shiso granita and garnish with the shiso chiffonade. Serve immediately.

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