A cold pint of stout and a plate of freshly shucked oysters may seem like an odd coupling at first. But the dry bitterness and roasty malt flavors of a stout play very well against the sweet and briny flavors of a fresh oyster—even more so when the stout is frozen and flaked into an icy granita that can be spooned over the fresh oyster just before slurpage.
The beer I chose for this stout granita was Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, which is a bit stronger in flavor (and alcohol) than regular Guinness Stout. If you can't find Guinness FES in your neck of the woods, regular Guinness, or your favorite stout or porter, will work just as well.
- 3/4 cup porter or Irish stout
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- One dozen fresh oysters, scrubbed clean
- Malt vinegar, to taste
Pour the beer into an 8x8 baking dish, then stir in the black pepper and lemon zest. Place the dish into the freezer.
Start checking the dish after 20 minutes. Once the mixture begins freezing around the edges, use a fork to stir the mixture and break up any large pieces of ice. Rake the frozen crystals toward the center of the dish.
Return the dish to the freezer and check the mixture every 10 minutes, continuing to scrape and break apart any large chunks of ice and rake them to the center of the dish. Repeat every 10 minutes until you have very fine, almost snow-like, crystals. Because there is so little liquid in this granita, it won't take long to freeze completely.
When ready to serve, shuck oysters. Shake a few dashes of malt vinegar onto each of the shucked oysters, between 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon depending on taste. Spoon some of the granita onto each of the shucked oysters, then garnish each with the additional lemon zest, shallots, and parsley. Serve immediately.
8- by 8-inch baking dish