Ahh Oysters, is there anything better? We think not! So, begs the question, what is the best way to eat these delightful mollusks? Naked? Raw with a slice of Lemon? Mignonette? All are delectable but let us break down our favorite ways to eat an oyster.
For wine, “terroir” is the concept that its flavor is derived from its sense of place in the vineyards terrain, soil, sunlight and water quality that all equally contribute to a unique wine that holds all the flavor of a particular place and time. Like wine, each oyster is directly impacted by its surroundings – the body of water in which they came from, the algae it feeds on, temperature, season, strength of the tides, the mineral content of the sea floor and rainfall. Even just the distance of a few miles can have a huge impact on an oyster’s flavor, or “merroir.”
Typically, raw oysters are served on the half shell are served with plenty of lemon for squeezing, Tabasco sauce or a shallot vinaigrette, called mignonette. But the most common way to eat a raw oyster is with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Why lemon? Lemon juice brings out the crave-able briny flavor that make oysters the delicacy they are.
If lemon just won’t cut it for you…mignonette is hands down our favorite way to dress an oyster. This name may sound fancy, but it is an incredibly simple dressing to prepare. We love to vary acidity and add additional flavors by seasoning our oysters with a mignonette sauce – a sauce made with vinegar and shallots that you sprinkle on your oyster – just as you would with lemon juice.
If eating an oyster raw isn’t your thing, you can grill your oysters. The lightly smoked flavor they tend to pick up during this process will blow your mind! You can grill any oyster you would eat raw – but bigger is better as they tend to shrink the longer they cook. A grilled preparation of an oyster maintains the fresh flavor but adds a satisfying char, fat and a meatier texture.
The coastal culture of the South is part of who we are, so it may be obvious that roasting is one of our favorite ways to enjoy an oyster. Whether lightly steamed and juicy or fully cooked, firmed and smoked – Oyster Roasts are a staple here in the Lowcountry.
What is your favorite way to eat an oyster? Share with us in the comments below!