Oysters with sauce mignonette
I just had to put sauce mignonette with oysters from one of the étangs – the saltwater lagoons just behind the Mediterranean that are separated from the sea by a spit of sand between Perpignan and Marseilles. The first time I ever ate oysters was here, at Port St Louis, served with this flavoured vinegar. It seems to work particularly well with these oysters, which have a high saline content. The locals rate fish caught from the étangs higher than those caught in the Mediterranean itself. They attribute the superior flavour to more salt in the water.
- 1 dozen oysters
- For the sauce mignonette:
- 3 tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- ¼ tsp coarsely crushed white peppercorns
- 1 tbsp very thinly sliced spring onion tops
To open the oysters, wrap one hand in a tea towel and hold the oyster in it with the flat shell uppermost. Push the point of an oyster knife into the hinge, located at the narrowest point, and wiggle the knife back and forth until the hinge breaks and you can slide the knife between the two shells. Twist the point of the knife upwards to lever up the top shell, cut through the ligament and lift off the top shell. Release the oyster meat from the bottom shell and remove, picking out any little bits of shell.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce just before serving. Arrange the oysters on plates, spoon a little of the sauce onto each one and serve.