So now that we’ve talked about the history of oysters, the different types and where they come from, and you’ve seen how to buy, clean and open raw oysters, how about making some sauces to go with them? Below are some of the most traditional ways to serve oysters. My favorite is mignonette sauce, or just completely unadorned. How do you like your oysters?
Mignonette is the typical French accoutrement for oysters. Order oysters or a fruits de mer platter in any Parisian bistro and what you’ll get is a clean taste of the sea with a wedge of lemon and this piquant sauce.
4 oz red wine vinegar
2 ea shallots, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and allow the shallots to marinate at least 1 hour.
It’s all about the shallots.
The shallots add a savory component while the vinegar provides a fruity, acidic note to balance the brine of the oyster and heat of the black pepper.
Like the kick without the cocktail? Freshly grated horseradish offers that in spades.
3 oz fresh horseradish root
1 tsp lemon juice
Look for fresh horseradish root to be firm and bright white inside. Scrub the root under cold water and then peel off the rough outer layer. Grate the root on a medium gauge box grater. Like onions, the fumes can be strong; don’t be surprised if you tear up. Place the grated horseradish in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and enough water just to cover.
4 oz ketchup
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients together and chill. Serve with oysters.
Tabasco or other hot sauce
Ponzu sauce (a Japanese dipping sauce made with soy sauce, citrus juice, mirin, kombu (seaweed) and bonito flakes)
A savory “granita” made with cucumber or lime and shallot
Disclaimer #1: Standard health warning regarding oysters: There is a risk associated with consuming raw oysters or any raw animal protein. If you have chronic illness of the liver, stomach, or blood or have immune disorders, you are at greatest risk of illness from raw oysters and should eat oysters fully cooked. If you are unsure of your risk, you should consult your physician.”
Disclaimer #2: Parts of this post were originally written and photographed by me for the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Whisk Magazine.