Oysters, Japanese-style

When we were in Japan in 2009 we visited the island of Miyajima, home of the Itsukushima shrine and its ‘floating’ torii gate. I say ‘floating’ because at low tide the gate is most decidedly sitting on the mudflats. Sorry to deflate your balloon.

Low tide at Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine
Low tide at Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine. By the way, those people out on the edge of the tidal flats are actually searching for pippis, not worrying about sightseeing.

So what is the connection with oysters? Oysters are a specialty of this part of the Inland Sea. So it was an easy choice for us to opt for a feed of oysters the day we visited the island.

A molluscine tribute to the shrine  gate
A molluscine tribute to the Itsukushima shrine gate

After our oysters ‘au naturale’ entree, we had more oysters. This time they were grilled outside the restaurant over a bed of charcoal. Great flavour and love those plates!

Lunch is grilled
Lunch is grilled

I was coming home on Tuesday when I saw a truck selling oysters from the south coast. Did I mention that I love oysters? Sydney Rock oysters, a native Australian species, are my favourite, although, as you’ve seen already, I can be persuaded to scoff just about any oyster that comes my way.

We debated how we were going to eat the oysters, particularly as they were still in their shells. Even when you know how to shell oysters the task can be onerous. No worries, we think “Miyajima!” and decide to save ourselves the effort and let the heat of the grill do the work for us.

First TB made a dressing by combining sushi seasoning, some mirin and hon dashi, a powdered stock of seaweed and shaved tuna; heating it for 10 seconds in the microwave so it was just warm enough to dissolve the hon dashi. Once the oysters opened under the heat of the grill they were dressed with the sauce, some rice seasoning sprinkles, sesame seeds, finely chopped seaweed and a dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise.

A plate of Sydney Rock oysters from the Clyde River, served with a Japanese-style dressing.

They tasted great, but didn’t hang around for long!

An oyster just before it gets devoured
An oyster just before it gets devoured

I just remembered. The last thing we ate before boarding the ferry back to Hiroshima after visiting Miyajima was, YES, more oysters!

Grilled oysters in pastry, a parting snack from Miyajima
Grilled oysters in pastry, a parting snack from Miyajima