(see our Past Recipes, too)
Winter is the right time for shellfish, and these two recipes should take you through the season deliciously!
Oyster Mignonette Sauce
This updated version of the delicate, traditional vinaigrette is a nod to the glamorous side of oyster-eating. In my opinion, it enhances the Oysters rich flavor, no matter the family, without over-powering the delicacy.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Makes 3/4 to 1 cup -- which is plenty for a party platter of oysters!
- 1/2 cup minced shallots (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar*
- 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of finely crushed white peppercorns (do not use pre-ground or powdered white pepper)
*I sometimes use clear, unseasoned rice vinegar or champagne vinegar for a slightly different taste
Peel and finely mince the shallots to pieces no smaller than the tip of a match by hand. You can also use a food processor carefully, ensuring they do not become mush or pulverized. One advantage of using a food processor is that the food processor bowl captures all of the liquid released by the shallots as they are minced, which will enhance the flavor of the mignonette.
Place the minced shallots and any liquid released from them in a glass bowl. Add the white vinegar, rice vinegar, and sugar and salt. Mix. Add the freshly crushed white pepper. Stir with a fork. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. The longer the mignonette sits, the better the flavor. It can last up to a month in the refrigerator.
Shuck the oysters. Make sure that the oyster is loose in the shell before serving by cutting under the oyster to release it from the bottom of the shell, being careful to keep as much liquid as possible. Discard the top shell and place the opened oyster in it bottom shell on a bed of crushed ice. Usually the mignonette sauce is served in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter (or as the French say, "plateau de coquillages").
People can scoop a small amount of the mignonette (1/8 of a teaspoon or so) onto their oyster before eating.
Crispy Stuffed & Baked New Zealand Green Lip Mussels
- Prep time: 30 minutes, cook time 10 minutes
- Makes 6 servings
- 1/2-1 cup panko (for the crisp)
- 1/2 lb. unsalted European Butter, room temperature
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon seas salt or kosher salt
- 1/2 teasoon Pernod
- 2 pounds small/medium New Zealand Green Lip Mussels (about 2-4 dozen)
(They come frozen on the half shell, if you can find them; pre-cooked.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Adjust the oven rack to the top position. Allow mussels to defrost, then cut the “foot” attaching them to the shell. Place a small dollop of butter inside (under) each of the mussels.
In a bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients (including remaining butter), except the panko, until blended. Dollop the mixture onto each mussel. Sprinkle with panko for a crisping finish. The panko will absorb the butter from the mixture it is atop.
Bake the mussels just until the panko is crisp and brown, about 10 minutes.
Place mussles on a platter and serve while still warm.
PS: always try new recipes or culinary techniques once before creating an important dinner!!
Diners rave about their dining experiences:
Just had a second great meal and experience at The Underground Lounge. We own a vacation home in Mammoth and have a list of our favorite places to visit when in town. Lakefront was a favorite for years and we were curious to try Chef Frederic’s new venture at The Underground. What a pleasant surprise!
Santa Maria, CA