Sweet, smoky, salty, spicy… all in a little bite of the ocean! Oysters With Bacon, Blood Orange, and Jalapeño Mignonette is a simple and elegant starter course for adventurous foodies.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
~~ Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
What is “mignonette sauce?”
The first time I actually had mignonette was in Bodega Bay – north of San Francisco – when we celebrated my Dad’s 75th birthday in 2013. We ate lunch at a Portuguese bait and tackle shop that had the most unbelievably fresh oysters I’ve ever had the pleasure of sliding into my mouth. That is when my love affair with mignonette began. Until that day, I had always enjoyed oysters on the half shell with a lemon wedge and cocktail sauce…
Mignonette sauce is a sauce made with vinegar, finely minced shallots, and cracked pepper. Originally, mignonette referred to a cheesecloth sachet of peppercorns, cloves, and herbs, and it was used to flavor liquids. You may find a variety of other ingredients in the sauce, but it will contain (good quality) vinegar, finely minced shallots, and cracked pepper.
So, how did I “land” on a Bacon, Blood Orange, Jalapeño Mignonette? I tend to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and as I’ve mentioned, blood oranges are amazing in the RGV this time of year. I wanted to take the mignonette sauce in a less-traditional direction, and given my enthusiasm for our local Mexican flavor profile, it seemed like a good place to start. This combination of blood orange juice, Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (substitute champagne vinegar), finely minced shallot and jalapeño, and fresh cracked pepper is good enough to drink on its own, but oh it makes the oysters sing! I cannot wait to prepare Oysters With Bacon, Blood Orange, and Jalapeño Mignonette as a starter for our stay-at-home Valentine’s Day dinner…
My husband shucks the oysters, while I make the mignonette sauce. I found a perfect tool on Amazon – a Zyliss Oyster Tool and Knife Set. Last year during oyster season, we had to open oysters with a flat head screw driver. Injuries ensued. In 10 minutes, the oysters and the mignonette sauce are nestled in their bed of ice. You know what they say about oysters right? 😀 These little beauties disappeared in an instant!
We LOVED this dish paired with a Lemon Cucumber Basil Martini (future post). The lemon complemented the oysters and citrus notes. The oysters and mignonette sauce would also pair well with a crisp sauvignon blanc, or for craft beer lovers, a Saison.
I have recently (with fear and trepidation) decided I need to do more (and better) videos. If you will leave a comment on this post expressing interest in an oyster shucking and/or mignonette sauce video, I promise to provide one! Would you like to see more or fewer recipes featuring these types of ingredients?
Recommended Tools and Pantry Items:
- Zyliss Oyster Tool and Knife Set
- Tasting Square Plate Set
- Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
- Lenox Stainless Steel Tray
- Whole Peppercorns
Oysters on the Half Shell With Blood Orange Jalapeno Mignonette
Sweet, smoky, salty, spicy... all in a little bite of the ocean! Oysters With Bacon, Blood Orange, and Jalapeño Mignonette is a simple and elegant starter course for adventurous foodies...
- 1 dozen oysters in their shells
- 1 blood orange, zest and juice substitute orange juice
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 1 small jalapeno finely minced, (see notes)
- 2 strips lean bacon fried crisp, and crumbled
- several grinds cracked pepper
- sea salt to taste
Shuck the oysters. If you have a helper, one of you can do the shucking while the other whips up the mignonette.
Arrange oysters on the half shell on a bed of ice
Whisk all the sauce ingredients together. Taste for seasoning.
To serve, spoon the mignonette sauce over each oyster, tilt them up, and slide them down!
Jalapeños vary widely in heat level. I made this dish on 2 successive nights with chiles purchased at the same time. One night my hands were fine, the next my hands, eyes, and lips burned. I used 1 small chile each night. I would suggest starting with half, and tasting.
I love Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar! If you can't get it, a good quality vinegar like a champagne or citrus vinegar will be fine.
Only use tightly closed shellfish!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 142 calories; 9 g protein; 2 g fat; 14 g carbohydrates.