Raw Oysters on the Half Shell With Mignonette Sauce
Complement raw oysters with a simple yet tasty sauce made from shallots, lemon juice, peppercorns and vinegar.
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24 oysters, such as malpeque, kumamoto or belon
Mignonette sauce (recipe follows)
Scrub the oysters under cold water with a stiff brush to remove the dirt, especially in the hinge area where mud has a tendency to get trapped.
Using a durable thick cloth, fold it over several times to create a square; this will steady the oysters as you shuck them and also protect your hand.
Using the towel as a mitt, place the oyster cup-side down in the palm of your towel-covered hand with the hinge facing you; have a small bowl handy to catch the delicious juice.
Insert the tip of an oyster knife as far into the hinge as it will go; don't jab it in there or you could break the shell.
With gentle force, twist the knife back and forth to pry the shell open. Using the knife, cut the muscle away from the top shell, bend the shell back and discard it. Run the knife underneath the oyster to detach it completely, but leave it in its shell.
Nestle the oysters in a bed of crushed ice to keep them steady.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 large shallots, minced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbs. chopped chives
2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
pinch of sea salt
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Cover and store at room temperature for at least one hour or up to overnight. Serve the sauce in small dishes or ramekins, letting your guests spoon it on top of each chilled raw oyster on the half shell.
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