Oysters with fennel-saffron lentils

Ostras con Lentejas al Hinojo y al Azafrán
Chef: Hilario Arbelaitz
Country: España
City: 20180 Oiartzun (Guipúzcoa)
Address: B. Iturriotz. Beheko Zoro Plaza, 1.
(+34) 943491228

Hilario Arbelaitz is passionate about oysters. They have always had clever recipes in which their rawness is presented in two ways, cold and warm; this preserves the nature and texture of the shellfish, which at a warm temperature augments its flavor without ever transforming the idiosyncrasies in flavor and texture of the product in pure state.

If the tepid oysters with green apple gelatin enraptured us before, this dish, included in the tasting menu of the restaurant, has truly tickled our fancy, responding fully to the philosophy of this distinguished establishment. Pure oceanic, iodized flavor, wrapped up in diverse sensations: Puy lentils, al dente, served with an array of vegetables in brunoise that are quickly sautéed, and an original, balanced sauce with fennel, saffron and soy, aromas that give the dish a measured, exotic touch.

The Recipe

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 large Arcachon oysters
  • 4 large spoonfuls of Puy lentils
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 4 spoonfuls of turnip, carrot, celery and green pepper, cut in a brunoise.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • White wine
  • Saffron
  • Fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Soy sauce
  • Salt


Cook the lentils in water with the carrot, leek and oil. When al dente, remove from heat and drain.
Sauté with the vegetable brunoise (turnip, carrot, celery and green pepper) in a few drops of oil until the vegetables are al dente as well.
Cook the finely chopped onion and pieces of fennel bulb in a pot with a little oil. Stir from time to time, cooking until the fennel bulb is white and soft. Add a few drops of white wine, the saffron threads, a few fennel seeds, a spoonful of soy sauce and salt. Add the oyster water produced from the opening of the shellfish and a little fumet. Place the mixture in a food processor and blend, ending up with a sauce that is somewhere between tepid and hot. Remove and blend in a blender until the sauce is foamy.
Place one oyster on each plate. Add the proportion of lentils and vegetable brunoise. Cover, except the oyster, with the foamy fennel-saffron sauce.