Oysters are such a refreshing summer treat, but I always thought they were one of those “restaurant-only” things that were just impossible to do at home. I mean, who even has a oyster knife?!
But the truth is, once you learn how to do it (and acquire the knife), it’s really simple. You could even have a shucking party with friends! Here’s a great Bordeaux-style mignonette recipe and some shucking tips I picked up from the Bordeaux cooking class I took at Cook Street last month:
Recipe adapted from Cook Street Culinary School Bordeaux class
1/2 cup champagne vinegar (the authentic stuff is made by the “Orleans method”)
1 scraped vanilla bean
2 tbsp. shallots, minced
1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly shucked oysters
1) Mince your shallots very teensy weensy – no one likes biting into shallots when they’re slurping oysters.
2) Toss into a bowl with the champagne vinegar, scraped vanilla bean, pepper, and salt.
3) Whiskey… I mean, whisk it. Add extra salt, vinegar, or pepper to taste.
4) Shuck your oysters (see below, or get some pre-shucked from Whole Foods and skip steps 5 & 6 here).
5) Strain the oyster meat from the juice in a bowl, collecting the juices in the bowl and returning the meat to the half-shell.
6) Mix the oyster juices in with the mignonette. Whisk again. And drink whiskey, too, just for kicks.
Technique adapted from Cook Street Culinary School Bordeaux class
1) Holding your oyster in a towel with one hand, find the nubby part of the oyster at the base of the shell (not the “mouth” part) where you can stick your oyster knife in.
2) Stick your knife in hard. Chuckle like a school girl as you read that aloud to yourself.
3) Once the knife goes in, twist it side-to-side to loosen the “lid.” Trace the lid with the blade of the knife if necessary to further detach it.
4) Detach the meat from the shell by scraping the bottom lid with the knife, and strain the oyster juices to use in your mignonette (you may want to use a colander or something like that).
5) Rinse your shell.
6) Return oyster meat to the bottom half.
For more great French regional recipes, make sure you sign up for Cook Street’s Provence class in July!