Mignonette with Fresh Oysters
This post is sponsored by i love blue sea. They make it possible to buy delicious seafood (like the Kumamoto oysters in this post) direct from the source. Find out how they work, and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook!
One of the great things about running a food blog is having the opportunity to discover companies doing truly awesome work. I consider awesome work things like making it possible for me to eat fresh oysters in Wyoming. These guys were shipped overnight to me and I got them just a few days after they were harvested.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about eating raw oysters away from an ocean, but they were packaged wonderfully and arrived in great condition.
I didn’t do anything fancy with this batch. I made a very simple mignonette sauce and took my time shucking, slurping, and savoring.
Yield: Makes about 1.5 cups
1 cup chopped shallots (about 5 shallots)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of fresh ground pepper
Mini food processor
1) Peel shallots and roughly chop them, measuring out about a cup.
2) Pulse shallots in a mini food processor or mince them very finely.
3) Stir shallots together with other ingredients and season well with salt and pepper.
4) Let sit for at least 15 minutes but overnight is best.
Serve with raw oysters, lemon, and hot sauce! This amount of sauce will serve about 5 dozen oysters.
The Mignonette Sauce
If I’m going through the trouble of buying and shucking fresh oysters, the last thing I want to do is put too much stuff on them. The oysters are fantastic on their own after all so why spend a lot of time and energy with toppings?
That said, one of my favorite toppings for raw oysters is a classic shallot vinegar sauce called mignonette. It really just has a few ingredients.
Peeling the shallots can be a bit of a pan, but once you have them peeled you can just roughly dice them up. You need about a cup for this recipe which worked out to about five medium shallots for me.
If you have a mini food processor, just go ahead and pulse the shallots in the food processor. This will save you some tears and also make sure all the juices stay with the shallots.
Of course, you can just very finely mince the shallot as well.
Once the shallots are minced, combine them with the other ingredients and let the sauce sit for at least fifteen minutes. Overnight would be even better though so the flavors can really meld.
This might not look like a ton of sauce, but a little goes a very long way. This is enough mignonette sauce for about five dozen oysters.
Ok. Let’s get down to the stars of the show: the oysters. They arrived right on time and were sent in an insulated package with some cold packs to keep the oysters nice and cool. I’ve handled raw oysters before (in a previous life I was a shucker/bartender for Legal Sea Foods), but if you haven’t, they have great instructions on how to store the oysters to keep them safe for a few days.
Basically, you just take them out of the package and keep them in a cool place with a wet towel covering them. I put mine in a cooler with the cold packs they provided and covered them with a wet towel. Then I just placed the cooler in my garage since it was nice and cool (but not freezing) in there.
The Kumamoto oysters they sent me were on the smaller side and some were larger than others which is to be expected. They ship them in batches of sixty though and I’m almost positive that my batch had a few extra in it. I think maybe because the oysters were smaller, I also thought they were really tender.
If you haven’t noticed, oysters come packaged in pesky shells. You must break into these shells if you ever want to enjoy the wonderful oyster goodness inside.
To be honest, this is no simple task. Shucking oysters requires a) patience b) confidence c) beer. And probably not in that order.
The worst situation would be if you’ve never shucked oysters before and you were crunched for time. You would curse. A lot. And probably not enjoy the oyster experience. But if you can take your time it can actually be a slightly fun task and once you get the hang of it, you can blast through a dozen oysters in no time.
I thought about trying to photograph how to shuck an oyster, but it’s really something that you have to watch to understand. Here’s a Youtube video that does a pretty good job of showing you how to shuck an oyster. I would watch a few of the videos if you’ve never done it before.
My few tips?
1) Use a dish towel to hold the oyster in place.
2) Make sure you have a shucking knife. i love blue sea lets you add one in with your order for $5 which is a great deal.
3) Find the joint in the oyster and wiggle the tip of the knife into it. Try not to crack too much of the shell, but this is hard unless you’re an expert.
4) Wipe your knife off between oysters.
I like to shuck my oysters in batches of one or two dozen depending on how I’m feeling.
Once I have them shucked I serve them on a plate with some crushed ice to keep them cool. I usually put out lemon, hot sauce, and the mignonette sauce to give people fun topping options.
Here’s Betsy’s toppings of choice which, I think, included everything.
We made short work of this batch.
Like I said, I ate most of this batch raw because that’s my preferred method, but I also tossed about a dozen of them on the grill one day.
When they open, they are done!
If you’re afraid of raw seafood, this is a good introduction to oysters because they are cooked and you don’t have to shuck them. They just open by themselves!