Mignonette for Oysters or Clams on the Half Shell

Mignonette is classic accompaniment to oysters and it works perfectly with the briny minerality of East Coast oysters or the cucumber and vegetative notes of West Coast oysters.  Being slightly more complex than lemons it is tart and peppery and a little bit goes a long way.  Coriander seed is not traditional but I like the citrus notes it adds to the sauce.

Verbiage you may not be familiar with.  Brunoise is a French word for very finely minced.  It is about 1/16th of an inch to 1/8th.

For the vinegar you can really use any vinegar you can get your hands on at your local grocery store.  Just avoid distilled vinegar and balsamic.  Rice vinegar would be great, but don't use seasoned.  The added sugar will throw the flavor off and the salt will be a bit much, especially with the East Coast oysters which tend to be naturally saltier.  You could also substitute lemon juice for part or all of the vinegar or even use a mixture of half orange juice and half lime juice in it's place, as well.

  • 1 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup shallots, brunoise
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seen, coarse ground

Whisk everything together and allow to chill in the fridge for one hour.  Start with a 1/4 teaspoon per oyster and feel free to add more if you like.