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Before shucking your oysters, plan out your platter and sauces. We love the French classic Mignonette sauce with our oysters. Note that the Mignonette sauce ingredients need to get to know each other for at least a day in order to taste their best. Please see the 2 Mignonette sauce recipes below & choose according to your taste – classic French or with an Asian twist. Be sure to have some lemons and hot sauce as well to serve along side the oysters.

We recommend bone-dry Chardonnay from Chablis with raw oysters – it has a lively minerality to it that is an excellent match with fresh oysters. Perhaps it is such a match made in heaven because Chablis is grown in rocky soil full of tiny fossilized oyster shells. Sébastien Dampt of Maison Dampt and Domaine Sébastien Dampt told us that on a recent trip to Normandy, he opened a Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons with a platter of oysters fresh from the channel and loved the pairing.

How to Shuck Oysters

Oyster shucking does not have to be scary or dangerous if you know the right way to do it and if you invest in a few simple items.

You will need:

  • An Oyster knife
  • A few kitchen towels and maybe an oyster glove
  • A brush to clean off oysters

Clean oysters with cold water and scrub with the brush. Set the clean oysters in a large bowl with ice to keep them cold and keep a damp towel over them.

Make sure all the oysters are closed. Toss any open oysters or any that seem lightweight or dried out.

How to shuck an oyster
Create a stable base by placing the first oyster on top of one of the kitchen towels, rounded side down with the hinge or more pointy end facing toward you.

Using another kitchen towel, place it on top of the oyster. Put your hand firmly on top of the towel and oyster.  Using your other hand, insert the oyster knife into the hinge. Use a downward motion so that the knife goes down into the lower shell. When you break through, push in and twist the knife to unlock the oyster.

Move the knife around the oyster, detaching the top shell. Rotate the oyster around with your hand while you guide the knife around it.

Have a platter with crushed ice set up to put the open oyster on top of it.

Make sure there isn’t any bits of shell or grit inside the oyster before serving chilled on the platter of crushed ice.

Raw oysters on the half shell

What To Serve With Oysters

I love oysters with just a squeeze of lemon and  some hot sauce. I am also keen on Mignonette Sauce, which is served with fresh oysters in France.

Traditional Recipe for Mignonette Sauce

  • 1 cup wine vinegar of your choice (white, red, champagne or sherry wine vinegar work great)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced

Mix together and place in the refrigerator  – Tastes best when the flavors blend together for at least a day.

Mignonette Sauce – Asian variation

  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 scallion, chopped finely into little circles
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about a tablespoon is all that’s needed)
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix together and place in the refrigerator. Again, this is at it’s best when the flavors blend together for at least a day.

Serve the raw oysters on a bed of crushed ice, with lemon and Mignonette sauce for your guests to enjoy. Bon appetit!