It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I always crave oysters. I love to go out for $1 oysters at Boxing Room and the Ferry Building’s Hog Island, but if I’m throwing a big family celebration at home, I like to serve them baked and on the half shell. Hog Island’s oyster farm in Tomales Bay is just a short 30 minute drive from my hometown, Petaluma. My dad enjoys driving out there and will pick up a bag of 50 briny oysters. We take turns shucking them and slurp the oysters down raw with a healthy splash of classic mignonette.
Although many people like to top raw oysters with cocktail sauce, I prefer the French mignonette sauce. I rarely experiment with different mignonette recipes; I almost always make this variation because I usually have all the necessary ingredients on hand when an unexpected oyster extravaganza occurs. As a condiment for raw oysters on the half shell, this mignonette is excellent by itself or even better paired with a fresh lemon wedge for squeezing and a drop or two of hot sauce. Bonus points if you’re drinking bubbly and someone else is doing the shucking!
My Classic Mignonette
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/3-1/2 cup champagne vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the minced shallot and parsley in a small bowl.
- Cover with 1/3 cup of champagne vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir with a spoon to combine.
- Check the consistency. The sauce should be plenty liquidy; if it seems to thick add more vinegar. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. The mignonette will keep for up to two days, but is best fresh.
Makes about 1/2 cup.