Barbecued oysters with bacon-chilli-tamarind sauce

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

It's hard to beat freshly shucked oysters, but shucking them yourself can be time-consuming. If you barbecue them in their shells, though, the heat pops them open, and you can serve them straight from the grill with a squeeze of lemon or with the tamarind sauce below.

  • 230 gm bacon rashers (we like double-smoked)
  • 80 gm tamarind pulp, soaked in ¾ cup hot water for 30 minutes
  • 160 gm light palm sugar, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 small red chillies, crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 24 unopened oysters
  • 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced, to serve
  • ½ bunch Thai basil leaves, to serve
  • To serve: lime halves
01   Remove rind from bacon and cook rind in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fat renders (5-10 minutes). Remove crackling from pan (it can be discarded or eaten by the cook). Finely chop remaining bacon, add to pan, stir occasionally until crisp and golden (10-15 minutes), then set aside on absorbent paper to drain.
02   Meanwhile, pass tamarind liquid through a sieve into a bowl (discard solids), add palm sugar and stir to dissolve. Add fish sauce and chilli and set aside.
03   Preheat barbecue to high heat, add oysters and barbecue until they pop open (3-5 minutes). Separate oyster lids from bases with a knife, top oysters with a little bacon, a drizzle of tamarind sauce, a scattering of shallot and a few Thai basil leaves and serve with lime halves.
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