Fusion Risotto with Oysters, Salsify and Avocado

This somewhat eclectic dish came about when Teun and I were playing in the kitchen and decided to get some inspiration from the Plated Dishes volume of Modernist Cuisine. More and more I am getting the impression that these dishes have been designed to demonstrate complicated techniques and to look amazing, than to actually taste really great. A dish that caught our interest was “Oyster stew” with a Thai-flavored oyster consommé, salsify, avocado and tapioca pearl. Since we didn’t know where to find tapioca pearls and thought a cold consommé would be more suited for summer, we decided to make a fusion risotto instead, using the same ingredients.

It was an experiment following the success of fusion ravioli, with the white wine usually included in risotto substituted by shaoxing, the onion by galangal, ginger, scallions, chili, and lemon grass, and the risotto made creamy at the end with coconut milk.

The result looked and tasted nice, but we both thought the salsify and avocado didn’t really add anything to the dish. It was good, but not outstanding given all the work involved preparing this dish. And even though we didn’t actually make the recipe from Modernist Cuisine, we suspect that dish would have the same problem. So I’m not going to make the actual dish from Modernist cuisine and neither am I going to make this dish again, but I’m posting about it anyway as it was a nice experience that we can learn from. I did really like the idea of an oyster risotto, and I will definitely make a more straightforward Italian oyster risotto soon.

Here’s what we did…


For 3 servings

200 grams (1 cup) risotto rice

80 ml (1/3 cup) shaoxing rice wine or sake

12 oysters

180 ml (3/4 cup) clam juice (recipe here)

2 avocados

3 salsify

2 lemon grass

1 bird chili

1 Tbsp sliced ginger

1 Tbsp sliced galangal

3 scallions (green onions)

extra virgin olive oil

250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk

salt, to taste

freshly squeezedlime juice, to taste

4 Tbsp (clarified) butter

For the vegetable stock

1 carrot

1 onion

2 celery stalks

1 bay leaf

3 lime leaves

fresh cilantro


Shuck the oysters, being very careful not to cut yourself…

…and to catch all of the oyster water in a bowl.

Try to keep the oysters whole, taking them out of their shells with a spoon…

…and catch all the oyster water in a bowl.

Repeat until you have shucked all the oysters and collected all the oyster water.

Vacuum seal the oysters and refrigerate until 20 minutes before serving time. The oysters need to be cooked sous-vide for 20 minutes at 48ºC/118ºF.

Filter the oyster water through a very fine sieve.

Peel the salsify, using gloves to prevent staining your fingers, and put them in a bowl of water to which you have added a bit of lime juice to prevent them from discoloring.

Drain the salsify and vacuum seal them with a bit of water, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, and salt.

Chop all the ingredients for the vegetable stock. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for an hour or pressure cook for half an hour, then sieve out the solids. Put the stock in a pot or saucepan and keep it simmering.

Make avocado cream by pureeing the pitted and skinned avocados with some lime juice and salt.

Cook the salsify sous-vide for an hour in water close to boiling (about 95ºC/203ºF).

Chop the galangal, lemon grass, ginger, scallions, and bird chilli.

Mince the galangal, lemon grass, ginger, scallions, and bird chilli very fine in a blender.

Heat 2 Tbsp of clarified butter in a frying pan. Add the galangal, lemon grass, ginger, scallions, and bird chilli, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes.

Add the shaoxing and sake and stir over medium high heat until it has been absorbed.

Add the clam juice, and stir until it has been absorbed.

Add a ladle of hot vegetable stock…

…and cook the rice, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Keep adding stock and stirring until the rice is almost cooked.

Now, add the coconut milk, and stir until it has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, cut the salsify into pieces and sauté them in a the remaining 2 Tbsp clarified butter.

Reduce the remaining vegetable stock over high heat until it is thick…

…and add it to the salsify.

Toss to coat the salsify with the stock.

Add the oyster water to the risotto…

…as well as some freshly squeezed lime juice.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and lime juice, if needed. Allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.

Arrange the risotto on preheated plates with the avocado puree and the salsify, and the oysters (that were just cooked sous-vide) on top.

Wine pairing

This was very nice with a dry Spätlese Riesling from Mosel.


Wine is often paired with food, but it can be inspiring to take a bottle of wine as the starting point and try to cook something that will go well with it. Oak barrels can give a hint of vanilla to wines, and so I thought it would be fun to make a seafood dish with a vanilla cream sauce to go with a creamy oaked chardonnay, and thus created Scallops and Shrimp with a Vanilla Sauce, Pea Puree and Parsnip Puree. It worked out really well, and the wine pairing was outstanding. The wine went well with the vanilla creaminess of the sauce as well as with the scallops and shrimp. The combination of scallops with parsnip and peas is something I’ve used successfully before. This is a nice secondo piatto for an elegant dinner party or perhaps a nice appetizer for your Christmas menu if you make a smaller portion?


10 thoughts on “Fusion Risotto with Oysters, Salsify and Avocado

  1. Reading this recipe reminds me of how much I like salsify. It is one of my favorite root vegetables and it is practically never seen on restaurant menus in SF. But I’m going to make this tonight. Thanks for remembering me about salsifi!


      1. I poach three salsifies it in milk, garlic, ginger, sumac, and salt. Then I serve it over leeks that were caramelized in butter and oil infused with garlic and ginger. I finish it off by chopping about five Chinese fermented black beans until they are pulverized. I then dust the salsifies with it.


  2. Absolutely love all three main ingredients, just cannot quite see them together taste or mouthfeel-wise 🙂 ! Love salsify: not easy to get here but now I just have to to be able to try Clayton’s interesting recipe! I am only used to cooking and eating the vegetable European-style: steaming, frying: relatively ‘plain’ – but since I live on Asian fusion, this will be interesting 🙂 !


  3. As much as I enjoy oysters, Stefan, I’ve yet to cook with them. They’re just so tasty raw, right from the freshly opened shell. I do want to try salsify, though, if I can ever find it. I’ve never seen it anywhere here, and I do get to a variety of shops and markets. When I do, I’ll stay away from this recipe. Promise! 😀


  4. Looks awesome! Love the new take on risotto. Just a heads up though, it looks like you are using sake in your picture which isn’t (to my knowledge) the same thing as shao hsing cooking wine. Probably still tastes great though!

    Liked by 1 person

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