Plate up Pacific oyster cebiche with melon salsa this summer
Plate up Pacific oyster cebiche with melon salsa this summer

Plate up Pacific oyster cebiche with melon salsa this summer

Mexican cuisine isn’t all about burritos. From coral trout pozoles to watermelon margaritas and chocolate, cherry and chilli tarts, the nation’s wealth of dishes boasts a complexity of flavours, colours and spices that are often ignored in our Tex Mex adaptations. In chef Paul Wilson’s new cookbook, Cantina, one of the world’s leading experts in Latin-American cuisine takes home-cooks on a culinary journey through the country’s distinct regional recipes. Continuing on from our summer-inspired recipe last week, we’ve nabbed Paul’s epic recipe for a delicious Pacific oyster cebiche with melon salsa.


24 freshly shucked Pacific oysters
iced water
crushed ice for serving
micro coriander to garnish

Melon salsa
100 g finely diced seedless watermelon
100 g finely diced rockmelon
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 short (Lebanese) cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and finely diced
flesh from 6 finger limes
1/2 habanero chilli, finely chopped
1 large handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 6 limes
100 ml  extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare the melon salsa, combine the watermelon, rockmelon, onion, cucumber, finger lime flesh, chilli and coriander in a medium bowl. Add the lime zest and juice and olive oil and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, for the flavours to develop.

To shuck the oysters, wrap the rounded end of the oyster within a folded tea towel and hold it down securely on a bench. With the other hand, insert the end of an oyster knife into the point of the oyster, wedging it just underneath the shell. Leverage up carefully, angling your knife up and away from the meat, to open. Carefully remove the muscle, known as the foot, which attaches the oyster to shell.

Fill a medium bowl with salted iced water. Using a pastry brush, brush away any oyster shell fragments with the iced water.

Cover the serving plates with crushed ice and arrange the oysters on top. Spoon generous amounts of melon salsa over the oysters and top with micro coriander. Serve immediately.

Serves four.

Recipe and images from Cantina by Paul Wilson, published by Hardie Grant Books.

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