Oysters on the Half Shell
Bring the classic half-shell experience home with this easy oyster recipe. You can enjoy their famous Gulf flavor with a little bit of lemon, or dress them in a variety of accouterments, like mignonette sauce or green onion granita.
Serves four to six.
- 24 fresh Gulf oysters in the shell
- crushed ice or coarse rock salt
- lemon wedges
- dipping sauces (see recipes below)
- 1/2 cup shallots, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, finely crushed
Green Onion Granita
- 1 cup green onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves
- Tabasco hot sauce
- cocktail sauce
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Preparation - Shallot Mignonette
- In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then serve. The flavor will intensify the longer it sits.
- Tip when serving a mignonette with oysters: Use a fork to dress them, not a spoon. The point is to add just the pickled shallots to the oyster, not the vinegar, which will overpower the flavor of the oyster.
Preparation - Green Onion Granita
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and transfer to a flat glass dish. Leave in the freezer for 45 minutes. Scrape with a fork every half hour until the solution resembles a green slush.
Shucking Fresh Oysters
- Using an oyster knife, shuck the oysters: Cover your hand with a cloth or thick glove, and grip the shelled oyster in your palm. Insert the knife point next to the hinge and twist the knife to pry the shell open. Then, cut the muscle away from the top half and discard the top shell. Run the knife underneath the oyster to detach it, but leave the oyster in its shell.
- Arrange the oysters in a bed of crushed ice or a bed of rock salt.
- Place the sauces in the center of the ice bed. Arrange lemon wedges around oysters. Serve immediately, chilled.