Author Notes: As the number of mignonette submissions indicate, many of us love our oysters cold with minimal tampering. I'm also fussy about the provenance of my oysters because all taste different. I have a bias against Gulf oysters because they can be fatal. I think they are best farmed in a briny sea water that remains cold all year round. Last fall I drove up to Hercules, CA for a reunion of old college friends. En route I stopped in Santa Barbara at a shop which specializes in olive oils but also stocks interesting vinegars. I picked up a nice pear vinegar to bring north. The first morning did not begin well. I got press ganged and frog marched to Alcatraz. But after that we went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco and picked up 4 dozen oysters of two west coast types. Back at the ranch I whipped up this mignonette. —pierino
cup pear vinegar
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon ground white pepper
tablespoons shallot, choppped
tablespoon prepared horseradish, or still better, grated raw
Crushed ice for presentation
- In a glass bowl combine the mignonette ingredients and whisk together. With a clean spoon taste the vinegar mixture. You will probably want to carefully calibrate the horseradish flavor and be sure it is well blended, unless you want a friend to do the horseradish eye pop (which always happens). Refrigerate for as long as you can in a glass vessel. Preferrably overnight.
- Shuck the oysters. Depending on where you buy them they might need to be scrubbed. Arrange on a tray of crushed ice.
- Bring out the mignonette and quickly whisk again. Guests may now spoon as much or as little over their ersters as they consume them. There will always be an oyster wimp in the group.
- Note: I would love to take this recipe to Brittany and try it with belons.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Way to Prepare Oysters