Niall McKenna's Oyster Gratin

(6-8 oysters serves two people)


For the gratin mix:

  • 225g butter
  • 2 tbsp malt or white wine vinegar
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 20g dill with stalk removed, finely chopped
  • Whipped cream
  • 50g gruyère cheese (finely grated)

To prepare the oysters:

I’d recommend buying your oysters from your local fishmonger.

To open the oyster, lay it between a folded cloth on a flat surface with the flatter part of the shell on top and hold tightly.

With an oyster knife or small sharp knife, place the point into the hinge of the shell and wiggle to prise open.

Slice the muscle attaching the oyster from the shell and place the juice in a bowl and to the side.

Wash the shells vigorously and run the oyster under cold water.


To begin, melt butter in the pan and leave to cool. If it is too hot, the sauce will curdle.

Note, once melted, only use the clarified butter. The solids which form at the bottom can be discarded.

Next, boil the vinegar with the peppercorns, adding in the oyster juice and reduce by half.

Then add in cold water to cool, drain through a sieve into a bowl and add in the egg yolks to be whisked together.

Place the bowl over a pot of hot water and whisk until a smooth ribbon texture is formed.

Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk, slowly adding the warm, clarified butter.

Once all the butter is added and whisked in, the sauce should be of a thick consistency which can now be seasoned with salt, paprika and chopped dill.

Lastly, place the oyster back in its shell cover, along with the mix, adding in one teaspoon of whipped cream and a handful of grated cheese.

To serve, place under the grill until golden brown.

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