Oysters on the Half Shell and Scrumptious Mignonettes

Oysters on the Half Shell and Scrumptious Mignonettes

Just sent the latest newsletter to our Perfect Taste friends.  This month’s issue is filled with wonderful seafood articles and a focus on my personal favorite…oysters!

Whether you’re consuming tomatoes or corn or oysters, local matters.  No oyster is the same at any one time of the year.  How it tastes, how fat, how briny, how big or how small it is depends on the cycles of the climate, water quality, salinity and the food the oyster feeds on.  Some oyster connoisseurs call it “aqua terroir” borrowing the term “terroir”  from wine aficionados describing the land on which grapes are grown.

Most of our oysters come from Tomales Bay and include Preston Point Pacifics, Hog Island Kumamotos, Marin Miyagis and Hog Island Virginicas.  Oysters filter almost 25 gallons of seawater through their bodies every day so they take most of their flavor from their surroundings.  Oysters that grow up near the open ocean will be salty.  If farm raised with an abundance of iron, their flavor will be metallic.  If there’s a lot of algae, the oyster will be greenish.

oysters-compressed

Oysters on the Half Shell

I like my oysters with simple sauces that let their taste shine through.  Here are two of my favorites:

Hog Wash (adapted from Hog Island Oyster Company)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
fresh ground black pepper

Mix all incredients together, chill and serve with oysters on the half shell.

Ginger Lime Sauce
2 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime zest
salt and pepper
fresh lime wedges

Combine lime juice, orange juice, ginger, garlic and honey in a non-reactive pot  and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce by half and set aside to cool.  When the syrup has cooled to room temperature, add the shallots, cilantro and zest.  Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve in a non-reactive bowl.   Serve with oysters on the half shell accompanied by fresh lime wedges.

oysters-cropped-and-compressed

Classic Mignonette (left) Red Wine Mignonette (right)