Most of my oyster memories are midday affairs with either a waterfront view or heaping mounds of crushed ice and a wine list. But in this year of curbside pickup and cooking at home, my oysters came from Hog Island Oyster Company via FedEx (what would we do without them??!) Hog Island’s oyster kit comes with three dozen extra-small sweetwaters, a shucking glove (a pair, actually), and sturdy knife.
At midday on Christmas, Lawrence went to work with his new toys as I popped the cork on the Champagne (Billecart-Salmon brut rosé, thanks to Debbie over at the Gourmet Cellar in Livingston) then cut a lemon and found some instructions for mignonette on the web (thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes).
Shucking takes a little practice, but after the first couple, you’ll be popping them open like a pro. Just remember, you want to preserve as much of the liquor as possible, so work with the shell flat side up, cup-side down and have a plate or two of crushed ice at the ready.
The Hog Island oysters were wonderful, but keep your eyes open for local businesses that bring in fresh oysters too, like Wild West Foods and “the oyster guy” here in Bozeman. Ideally, eat them the day you buy them, but you can keep them fresh and happy (i.e. alive) by tumbling them into a colander set over a bowl, covering them with a wet kitchen towel, and refrigerating them for a day or two, refreshing the towel daily.
Mignonette for Oysters
This amount is plenty for three dozen oysters. Scale up as you need.
adapted from Simply Recipes
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper (or freshly ground white pepper, if you have it handy)
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Ideally let this mixture sit for 10 minutes (or up to a couple hours) to mellow the shallot.