Here on Martha's Vineyard we have access to some of the best oysters on the planet. Katama Bay is home to salty, sweet oysters that are equally amazing raw as they are cooked. While we have access to oysters year round, summer is ubiquitous with raw oysters. Classic mignonette can be found at every oyster bar, and is traditionally made with chopped shallots, vinegar and cracked pepper. The salty brine of the oyster is an amazing platform for acid, spice and sweetness. I have experimented with different mignonettes over the years and I find this one perfect for a summer evening.
Oysters can be an intimidating thing to work with at home if you have never opened them before. No need to worry, they are easy to open with a little practice, and can be a fun way to share time in the kitchen with your friends and family.
Oysters have two sides, the rounded belly side, and the flatter top. To properly open an oyster you will need an oyster knife and a towel. Some people also use a mesh glove on their non-dominant hand.
Place the oyster flat side up on a cutting board. Place the towel over it, leaving the end exposed.
Insert your oyster knife into the hinge, and push firmly holding the oyster still with your other hand. Wiggle your knife gently as you apply pressure into the oyster. Once you have a little purchase you can twist the knife breaking the hinge. Draw your knife along the inside of the oyster on top to release the mussel.
Once your oyster is open you can draw your knife along the bottom of the oyster to release the meat completely for easy eating. Try your best not to spill all the oyster liquor inside.
Watermelon Jalapeno Mignonette
Yields quantity for 6-8 oysters.
-4 tbsp fresh pressed watermelon juice
-2 tsp minced shallot
-1/2 tsp minced jalapeno
-2 tsp red wine vinegar
- cracked pepper
Simply mix together your ingredients, and you are ready to top your oysters! You can always double or triple the recipe if you are working with a large quantity of oysters.
I topped these with some pickled jalapeño and thinly sliced watermelon for presentation and extra flavor. Enjoy!