Winter is the right time for shellfish, and this recipe should take you through the season deliciously!
This updated version of the delicate, traditional vinaigrette is a nod to the glamorous side of oyster-eating. In my opinion, it enhances the Oysters rich flavor, no matter the family, without over-powering the delicacy.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 3/4 to 1 cup — which is plenty for a party platter of oysters!
- 1/2 cup minced shallots (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar*
- 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of finely crushed white peppercorns (do not use pre-ground or powdered white pepper)
*I sometimes use clear, unseasoned rice vinegar or champagne vinegar for a slightly different taste
Peel and finely mince the shallots to pieces no smaller than the tip of a match by hand. You can also use a food processor carefully, ensuring they do not become mush or pulverized. One advantage of using a food processor is that the food processor bowl captures all of the liquid released by the shallots as they are minced, which will enhance the flavor of the mignonette.
Place the minced shallots and any liquid released from them in a glass bowl. Add the white vinegar, rice vinegar, and sugar and salt. Mix. Add the freshly crushed white pepper. Stir with a fork. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. The longer the mignonette sits, the better the flavor. It can last up to a month in the refrigerator.
Shuck the oysters. Make sure that the oyster is loose in the shell before serving by cutting under the oyster to release it from the bottom of the shell, being careful to keep as much liquid as possible. Discard the top shell and place the opened oyster in it bottom shell on a bed of crushed ice. Usually the mignonette sauce is served in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter (or as the French say, “plateau de coquillages”).
People can scoop a small amount of the mignonette (1/8 of a teaspoon or so) onto their oyster before eating.
PS: always try new recipes or culinary techniques once before creating an important dinner!!