Sunday, April 26, 2015

French Kiss - Rose Mignonette for Oysters

Eight years ago to the day, my husband and I had our very first date. It was a warm but misty Thursday evening. I was going to be meeting him for the first time directly from work, and I worried that my hair would be a frizzy mess by the time I arrived. After sneaking away from my desk a bit early to carefully flat-iron it at my office (a girl can never have too many backup hair tools hidden away), I threw a scarf over my head and miraculously found a cab (no small feat at rush hour in midtown Manhattan) to take me to a bar at the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea. Fate was on the side of my hair that day, among other things!

My Beautiful Oyster Feast prepared by a special guy, Photo: NK

Upon entering the bar, I probably walked by him two or three times before finally calling his cell to see if he'd arrived. Turns out, my future husband was right there in front of me all along, I just hadn't recognized him because he was even cuter than his picture. One great date (filled with scintillating conversation and two **ok, I'm lying** glasses of very nice Nero d'Avola) and nearly a decade later, he's as lovable as ever. He shares my passion for food (teaching him to be a more confident cook and creating elaborate dinners together were major themes in our courtship) and he still makes me laugh on a daily basis. 

Six years ago in Greece where we got engaged! Photo: NK
Among the many qualities I admire about my hubby is his willingness to take on projects that require patience and precision. He's willing to practice things intently and takes pride in mastering new skills. 

That's why I knew he was just the person to tap when I decided that this summer was to be about my ever-growing obsession with Oysters! No sooner did I ask my main squeeze to buy the appropriate equipment (a special shucking knife and safety glove) and study up on how to shuck my favorite bivalve, than an expertly-prepared Oyster feast was before me. He definitely knows the way to my heart. 

Today, I am sharing my lovely twist on Classic Oyster Mignonette (a mixture of vinegar and shallots often seen as an accompaniment to Oysters on the Half Shell), which was my contribution to his aforementioned shellfish spread. Using a delicious Dry Rose (a classic Oyster pairing), I took traditional Mignonette and softened its acidic quality just a bit so that our Peconic Pearls could really shine. Making your own Mignonette takes minutes and it's the perfect, minimalist accoutrement to Oysters. I love cocktail sauce and horseradish as much as the next guy, but a little Mignonette really allows the Oysters to stand on their own. So here's to that special guy and the very special cocktail hour he made possible for me. 

Classic Mignonette with a splash of Dry Rose (Paumanok VIneyards, 2014) Photo: NK
Rose Mignonette for Oysters
Makes enough for about 2 dozen Oysters

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Dry Rose (we used Paumanok Vineyards, 2014)
2 heaping Tablespoons minced Shallot (from about 1 large Shallot)
1 generous pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Combine all the ingredients and serve alongside freshly shucked Oysters on a bed of ice! 
The Mignonette can be made ahead.

Tip: If you're as into Oysters as I am, I recommend you check out In a Half Shell blog. It's the ultimate destination for Oyster lovers (including wonderful city guides on where to find the very best) written by a talented woman who eats, sleeps and breathes them. Enjoy!

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