Whether you’re hosting a virtual party with friends or enjoying a date night at home with your special someone, oysters are the perfect choice for having an exciting, memorable occasion. Once you’ve mastered how to shuck oysters and have decided on the best drink pairings, you can take these delicious bivalves to the next level by eating them with a few delightful yet simple sauces.
Lemon juice on an oyster is an easy way to enhance its natural briny flavor. Think of this as the purist’s version of an oyster sauce. Just a dash of lemon juice lets you appreciate all of the oyster’s flavors by complementing and enhancing them. All you need to do is squeeze a fresh lemon or lime wedge over your freshly shucked oysters and slurp.
Think shrimp cocktails are a little too old school? Well, how about adding a twist by pairing cocktail sauce with freshly shucked oysters? Here’s a starter recipe for an oyster cocktail sauce that you can make on your own:
- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- 2 tablespoons of horseradish
- 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Juice of 1 lemon/lime
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- In small bowl, combine/mix ketchup, horseradish, a dash of Worcestershire, a squirt of lemon, and a dash of Tabasco
- Chill and serve
This sauce may sound fancy, but it’s easy to make and incredibly delicious. You probably have most or all of the ingredients in your pantry already. For oyster newbies, it’s a great choice if you aren’t used to the texture of oysters. All it takes is red or white wine vinegar (sherry or Prosecco vinegar works well too) and some shallots. Pour the combination over a freshly shucked oyster and enjoy. Here’s our mignonette sauce recipe:
- 1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) minced shallots/red onions
- 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or Prosecco vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of finely crushed black peppercorns (do not use pre-ground or powdered pepper)
- Put all of the ingredients together in a non-reactive (glass or pyrex) bowl
- Cover with lid or plastic wrap
- Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours. For the best results, store your mignonette for at least two days before using it. It will last up to one month in the refrigerator.
NOTE: Usually the mignonette sauce is served in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter. You can scoop a small amount of the mignonette (⅛ tsp or so) onto the oyster before eating.
If you can, skip the prepared horseradish and seek out fresh horseradish root. For this garnish, simply peel the rough, barklike exterior of the root with a knife or vegetable peeler. Then, grate the fresh horseradish over freshly shucked oysters and enjoy the extra little kick it gives them.
You might be surprised to see pesto on this list, but it has a rich, striking flavor that pairs well with oysters. Plus, it’ll be an interesting talking point because everyone will ask you about how you thought of using pesto. Try out this recipe for your sauce:
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- Dash of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and lemon juice together in a food processor
- Pulse until finely minced
- With food processor on low, slowly pour in olive oil until desired consistency is reached
- Mix in salt to taste
- Chill and serve
- NOTE: Serve in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter. You can scoop a small amount of the pesto (⅛ tsp or so) onto the oyster before eating.
No matter which sauces you use, you and your friends will love these mouthwatering recipes. If you’re ready to start shucking oysters yourself or want someone to shuck them for you, book catering with Oysters XO today. We also offer online cooking classes so that you can learn new party tricks, even if we can’t be hosting parties due to social distancing. Contact us to learn more.