Enjoying fresh raw oysters while dining out may be a date night ritual, but there’s no reason you can’t have the same luxurious experience at home. All you need are fresh oysters, our homemade mignonette recipe, a couple lemon wedges, and an oyster shucking knife.
The classic mignonette flavor is unmistakably bright and vibrant! It’s made from vinegar, shallots, and black pepper. The hardest part is for sure shucking those oysters! But with the proper knife, a kitchen towel to protect your hand, and a little elbow grease, you’ll be enjoying a dozen oysters on the half shell at home in no time!
And oyster eaters will agree, this is date night perfection!
Ingredients For Mignonette
This recipe is for a classic mignonette, which consists only of red wine vinegar or white vinegar (your choice! unseasoned rice vinegar works really well too!), minced shallots, and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a touch of kosher salt to round it out, but that’s it!
Some mignonette recipes call for white pepper. Feel free to use this in place of black peppercorn if you’ve got it, but I wouldn’t go out and buy it specifically for this.
Don’t forget to pick up an oyster shucking knife if you don’t already own one. Couldn’t get into those beautiful raw oysters without this!
How To Make Classic Mignonette
Simply combine red wine vinegar, shallots, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl, then give it a little stir to combine. So quick and easy to make, and it has such a lovely balance!
We recommend letting the mignonette rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The flavor will intensify the longer it sits.
Mignonette sauce can be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Enjoy Mignonette Sauce With Oysters
Mignonette is easily our favorite accompaniment to serve with oysters on the half shell. The flavor of the mignonette really brings out the natural sweetness of each oyster.
Raw, fresh oysters are an indulgence on their own. Just like wine, the specific taste of the shellfish is reflective of where the oysters were grown. So, for instance, oysters from the cold, New England shores off of Maine and the Cape (such as Blue Point, Wellfleet, or Malpeque oysters) will taste a touch brinier than oysters from the West coast, and have a smoother texture. Oysters harvested from the West Coast and Pacific waters (such as Barron Point, Inlet, or Kumamoto) will taste sweeter, are plump and creamy, and are overall less briny than East coast oysters.
The good news? While all raw oysters can be enjoyed naked (straight from the shell), they can also benefit from a touch of something extra. A squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoon of cocktail sauce, or… a piquant sauce, such as mignonette! The latter is our favorite and what we always reach for when we order oysters on the half shell.
Variations On Mignonette
While most mignonette sauces taste roughly the same — generally, they all consist of vinegar and shallots, giving them their distinctive flavor — here are some ideas to play with the overall flavor.
- Spicy: mince a jalapeño or other chili
- Sweet: cube or dice sweet apple
- Asian: add minced garlic and grated ginger with a sprinkle of fresh herbs (cilantro or chives)
- Crisp and light: try adding minced cucumber — we like to peel it first
And if you’re more of a cocktail sauce kinda guy or gal, we’ve got you covered!
The possibilities are endless, but remember: don’t overdo it and mask the flavor of the creamy oysters! They’re expensive and delicate and to completely overpower their natural flavor would be a damn shame.
So grab your oyster shucking knife, a tiny spoon or fork for saucing them up, and let’s get to it! Our homemade mignonette is the classic accompaniment for an oyster feast, and you will love, love, love it!
If you make our Mignonette sauce, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below.
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For more seafood recipes, check out the following:
- Classic fish cakes
- Ahi tuna poké bowls
- Pan seared scallops
- Miso cod
- Slow baked salmon with herb shallot butter
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp shallot minced
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, then whisk to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours.
- If you don’t have red wine vinegar, substitute with white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar.
- While the flavor intensifies while the mignonette sits, you can of course make this and serve immediately without letting it sit for 2 hours.
- Mignonette will keep in an airtight container in a refrigerator for months.
This post was originally published in October 2020. It has since been updated with additional information to make it easier to create and enjoy at home!