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Forget the sweet and custardy lemon curd you thought you knew—this bittersweet and faintly smoky condiment is another thing entirely. Adapted from the cookbook Retour de pêche by Tanguy Thomassin and Adele Grunberger, this savory curd is served as a raw bar topping at the Oyster Club in both Paris and Brittany. Its pithy and charred bitter notes shine brightly when swirled into briny oyster liquor. 

Featured in “ Raw Bar Season is Upon Us—Here’s What 3 French Wine Pros Pair With Their Oysters.”

Yield: makes 1/2 cup
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large lemons, cut in 8 wedges per lemon
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped basil leaves (3 large leaves)
  • 14 tsp. olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dozen oysters

Instructions

  1. To a large, nonreactive skillet set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the lemon slices, basil, and a pinch of black pepper, stirring to coat the lemon wedges in the oil. Cook, turning the lemons once, until they start to smell sweet, and turn a deep golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender or a mortar pestle, and process into a fine paste. Set a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl, then use a bowl scraper or silicone spatula to force the lemon paste through to make a very smooth curd. Cover and transfer to the fridge until chilled or up to 5 days.
  2. Shuck the oysters, reserving as much of their liquor as possible. Transfer to a platter of crushed ice, top each of the oysters with a small dollop of the chilled lemon curd, and serve immediately.

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