At The Sportsman in England, chef Stephen Harris celebrates the restaurant’s close proximity to the beach and some of the best oyster beds in the country. Here he poaches the oysters in their own liquor before putting them back in the shells and topping with creamy beurre blanc, tangy pickled cucumber and Caspiar caviar.


  • One 8-ounce cucumber—peeled, seeded and julienned
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 dozen freshly shucked large oysters with their liquor, 24 shells reserved for serving
  • Black caviar, for serving

 Step 1    

In a small bowl, toss the cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain well in a sieve. In the bowl, stir 1/4 cup of the cider vinegar with the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir 
in the cucumber and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Drain.

Step 2    

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining 
1/3 cup of vinegar with the wine and shallot. Boil over moderately high heat until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderately low heat for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing 
on the solids, then return to the saucepan; discard the solids. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, a couple of pieces at a time, adding more as the previous addition is incorporated. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Keep warm.

Step 3    

Arrange the oyster shells on a platter. In a small skillet, simmer the oysters with their liquor over moderate heat until the edges begin to curl, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer each oyster to a shell. Spoon some of the beurre blanc on each and top with 
pickled cucumber and caviar. Serve immediately.