Oysters on the Half Shell with Blood Orange Mignonette

Sweet, smoky, salty, spicy… all in a little bite of the ocean! Oysters on the Half Shell with Blood Orange Mignonette is a simple and elegant starter course for adventurous foodies. This Latin twist on a traditional French culinary tradition hits all the flavor notes in a healthy, small ocean-filled bite!

Oysters on the Half Shell topped with Blood Orange Mignonette on an antique platter with ice.

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

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – What is Mignonette?

While I’ve enjoyed oysters on the half shell all of my life, 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…

A traditional French mignonette 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. Oysters and mignonette is a French culinary tradition that I love, and I felt it would lend itself well to a Latin-inspired version.

So, how did I “land” on a Blood Orange Mignonette? I tend to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and as I’ve mentioned, blood oranges are amazing in the Rio Grande Valley this time of year. I wanted to take the mignonette sauce in a less-traditional direction, and given my enthusiasm for our local healthy 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, bacon, 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 on the Half Shell with Blood Orange Mignonette as a starter for our stay-at-home Valentine’s Day dinner…

A dozen oysters on the half shell with the prepared blood orange mignonette, and 2 cucumber basil martinis.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

  • oysters – Oysters on the half shell must be fresh. Select tightly closed oysters that smell briny like the ocean. Keep in mind that oysters are best during specific seasons. Be sure to know the source and whether they’re safe to consume.
  • fresh orange juice – If you can’t get blood oranges, use the best quality orange or tangerine you can find. Cara cara oranges aren’t as deeply hued, but the beautiful pink would be lovely as well.
  • vinegar – I love the orange muscat champagne vinegar, but I can’t always find it. Playing with different vinegar is fun. Try this orange blossom champagne vinegar, or this blood orange vinegar.
  • shallot – Red onion is a good substitution, but it needs to be very finely minced.
  • jalapeño
  • bacon – Bacon is an optional ingredient, but we love the addition! The choice is yours.
Mark Andersen is shucking a dozen oysters on the half shell.

Do you have a partner willing to shuck the oysters? 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 opened oysters with a flat head screw driver. Injuries ensued. No bueno! This oyster tool and knife set has been a huge improvement…

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!

Once the mignonette is whisked together, arrange everything on a platter with some ice to keep them cold!

Oysters With Bacon, Blood Orange, Jalapeno Mignonette

❓ FAQ

When is it safe to consume raw oysters?

Some areas may have specific advisories or restrictions on the consumption of raw oysters due to seasonal conditions or water quality concerns. Be aware of any local guidelines or warnings. If you have a trusted fish counter or fishmonger, ask. They should be able to tell you. I buy mine at our local market, and they do not stock them when they’re not in season. See An Experts Guide to Selecting and Serving Raw Oysters if you have more questions.

💭 Top Tip

Make the mignonette in advance and shuck the oysters just prior to serving. Keep the crumbled bacon separate until just before serving. You can keep it in the refrigerator a day or two.

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

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.

Oysters on the Half Shell With Bacon, Blood Orange, Jalapeno Mignonette

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?

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

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Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

Oysters on the Half Shell With Bacon, Blood Orange, Jalapeno Mignonette

Oysters on the Half Shell With Blood Orange Mignonette

Sweet, smoky, salty, spicy… all in a little bite of the ocean! Oysters on the Half Shell is a simple and elegant starter course for adventurous foodies…
5 from 3 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Eclectic, Mexican
Servings 2 servings
Calories 142 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oysters in their shells

Mignonette Sauce

  • 1 blood orange - zest and juice, substitute orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 shallot - finely minced
  • 1 small jalapeño - finely minced, (see notes)
  • 2 strips lean bacon - fried crisp, and crumbled
  • several grinds cracked pepper
  • sea salt - to taste

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Servings | Calories: 142kcal

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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4 Comments

  1. I am such a rookie when it comes to oysters! But, this recipe definitely catches my eye with those beautiful zinger ingredients of bacon, blood orange, and jalapeno. YUM. Might have to reshare this one with my oyster-loving friends.

    1. Oysters are a bit of an acquired taste 🙂 The mignonette, though, is pretty incredible, and oyster lovers are sure to enjoy the combination! Thanks for stopping by Cindy!