Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Raw Bar: Oysters 3 Ways to Ring in the New Year

I can't believe that it is already that time of year again and there is no better way to ring in the New Year than with some raw oysters. Here are some ideas, well, 3 of them specifically, on how you can prepare them. But wait, aren't raw oysters best when simply prepared with just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash or two of tabasco sauce? Well, yes and no. On one hand, yes, they taste delicious just like that. On the other hand, no, you don't have to stick to conventional wisdom to enjoy your oysters. There are other methods of preparation that will bring the best out of your favorite bivalve. Here are three of them:

One preparation is with the classic French mignonette sauce (see the middle oyster in the photo). The ingredients commonly found in a mignonette are:

- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (you can use just about any type of vinegar; another option is to use champagne or red wine vinegar)
- cracked pepper (black or white to taste)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
Just mix all of the above in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors come together. Very simple, no cooking involved.

These next two preparations are a little more unconventional and skew towards Asian flavors. The first one (on the right), is spicy and contains Vietnamese flavors:

- 1 tablespoon garlic-chili sauce
- 2 dashes of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- chopped cilantro
- a pinch of sugar
Again, mix them all together and set aside.

Finally, the third and final preparation (on the left) is a little on the sweet side (to counter the briny oyster liquor) and contains the following Japanese ingredients:

- 1 teaspoon ponzu (citrus soy sauce)
- 1/2 tablespoon mirin (sweet japanese wine)
- 2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow miso
- finely chopped scallions for garnish
Just mix all the ingredients above and set aside until ready to serve.

And there you have it, three different and distinct sauces for raw oysters, in the style of French, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines.

Bon Appétit and a Happy New Year!

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