Our first real summer in selling our wares has been a lot of fun and business has been pretty steady. Mistakes were made, lessons learned and plenty of you treated yourselves or loved ones to some of our kit. Thank you for making it so good in spite of the questionable weather.
There have been a couple of notable highlights though. One was being approached by people working on behalf of Michelin-starred Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt. For me, a half Swedish fire cooking nerd that was pant wettingly exciting.
For those who don’t know, he’s famous for cooking only over fire in his Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt (at which we had a reservation in November but Covid stopped us from going. Thanks again Covid). That means no electric ovens, no gas hobs. No Chef Mike. Just fire using varying woods, stoves and cast iron cookware depending on the dish.
One of his most famous dishes is oysters basted with combusting beef fat and, as part of the promotional press drop, his team planned to send out everything a journalist would need to make the dish at home..
So what do you need to make beef basted oysters?
- A cube of beef fat (ask your butcher)
- A copy of Food from the Fire: The Scandinavian flavours of open-fire cooking
- Some oysters
- A flambadou
In case you hadn’t guessed, that’s where we came in. They found AP when asking some kind of combination of…
What in Hephaestus’ name is a Flambadou?
Who makes Flambadous?
Where can I buy a Flambadou?
Fantastic. I’ll take 50.
We started making these in the early summer as a bit of fun. Read the thrilling story here. We’d seen a video of Ekstedt making the dish and a couple of videos demonstrating the medieval cooking technique. We sold a handful but we’d never had to make more than a few at time.
Now we had to bosh out 50 in a couple of weeks to meet what was by far the biggest order we’d had. This was a bit terrifying since we kind of freestyled the design of them. On one the hole was too big - fat would just dump out the bottom. The next too small - bits of herbs and other solids would block the hole (but actually make incredible smokey brown butter). The third was goldilocks perfect for our purposes but we had no idea if it was Michelin worthy.
We sent him one. It was good so we dropped everything to make another 50 as quickly as possible plus a few more while we were at it. Huge thanks to the Duck End Forge for the Thor-like effort.
Then came the fun task of figuring out how to season 50 flambadous in a day to meet the shipping deadline. I did start to type out the process but I started boring myself. It involves 3 buckets of water, an umbrella, a 57cm Weber Kettle, a tall oven, a lot of old tea towels and a badly burnt hand.
We shipped them. They shipped them. All went as smooth as a horrible fluid filled blister.
A day before writing this, I was sent this picture taken from the man himself’s instagram. If you look closely you can see our brand on there. Pretty cool. It’s what wanted me to write this and brag about the project.
If you’re looking to have a go at flambadou oysters, here’s our version of the Michelin Star winning dish.
These are a great way to kick off a grazing afternoon if timed well so keep that in mind and heat the cone while your pit comes up to temperature.
200g beef fat. Ideally you want un-rendered, solid cubes but we have had success with rendered and chilled tallow compound butters so use what you have.
2 shallots finely diced
1 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
A lot of Salt
Combine your vinegar, herbs and shallots. Use whatever soft herbs you like but dill works well with shellfish.
Heat your flambadou while shucking your oysters. Rest the cone of the flambadou in the hottest part of your fire with a hot piece of coal in the cone itself to heat it thoroughly.
When your oysters are all shucked and completely separated from the shells, lay them out on a bed of salt on a plate that doesn’t mind getting a bit hot. The salt will keep them in place. You’ll be serving from this so make it look pretty.
Get a tablespoon sized hunk of your chosen fat handy with some tongs and get ready for the light show.
Grab your flambadou by the handle (you might need a tea towel but it’s usually fine), pour out any coal from the cone and give it a tap to rid it of most of excess ash.
Carefully drop the fat into the cone while it is still in the embers. This is quite an important detail. We’re looking for it to set on fire. It will smoke wildly but with a little tilting and wiggling around for encouragement, it will ignite.
With purpose, hover the business end of the cone over the oysters and watch as molten fat kisses their tops, lightly cooking their surface. This is supposed to be bombastic and a bit scary so make sure it’s on fire and pretend you’re some kind of fantasy knight type character with a blazing sword from when Game of Thrones was still good.
Treat yourself to plenty of fat on each oyster. For 6 oysters, you’ll probably want to do two batches.
Serve with as much vinaigrette as you want. Enjoy in one, incredibly satisfying bite.