Cook Like a Clerkenwell Chef

Clerkenwell is stuffed to the gills with top culinary talent, so we thought we’d ask them to share some of their favourite recipes. Here, leading chef Mark Hix, of Hix Oyster & Chop House, shows you how to make his irresistable oyster and chorizo pies, the perfect alternative to a traditional autumn Sunday roast.



Serves 4

4 very large oysters
70–80g cooking chorizo, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2-3 tbsp water
100g ready-made all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Rock salt, to serve


MARK SAYS: ”Occasionally we get a few enormous oysters in the restaurant that are way too big to swallow raw and are only good for cooking. They make perfect, natural little pies. At home, you’ll probably need to order in these large oysters in advance from your fishmonger. There are several other flavourings you could slip under their pastry lids – bacon, shallots and a little cream would work equally well, for example.”

Prise open the oysters. Lay an oyster in a folded tea towel on a surface with the flat shell uppermost and the pointed hinge facing towards you. Holding the oyster down with the cloth, force the tip of an oyster knife into the hinge of the shell, carefully moving it from side to side until you can feel the shell loosening – it will take some force.

Keeping the knife in the shell, twist it a little and run it along the top of the shell until you feel the muscle, which attaches the oyster to the shell. Cut through this to detach the top shell.

Remove any bits of shell that may be on the oyster flesh, but don’t pour away the natural juices. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan and gently cook the chorizo and shallots for 3–4 minutes over a low heat. Add the water and the oyster juices and simmer for a further minute before removing from the heat. Leave to cool. Once cool, spoon the chorizo mixture over the oysters

Roll out the pastry on a floured table to about 2mm thick. Cut the pastry just slightly larger than the shells and brush the edges with the beaten egg. Cover the oysters with the pastry, egg-washed side down, pressing the edges to the shell to fix them in place. Brush the top and sides of the pastry with more beaten egg, place them on a tray and leave to rest in the fridge until required. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

Bake for about 12–15 minutes until golden. Make little piles of rock salt on the centre of each serving plate and lightly press an oyster pie into each to stop them from wobbling around. Serve immediately.


Mark Hix on Baking will be published in October 2012 by Quadrille Publishing, £20.