Sunday, 3 January 2010

My special New Year's champagne breakfast Part 2: Bélon oysters with two sauces

My wife LOVES oysters. And I don't mind them so much myself (apart from the hefty price tag they carry outside of France or any other country they're natives to). My favorites are Bélon oysters, also know as European flat oysters, or Huîtres de Bélon in their home country.  I harvest mine at Fisch Gruber on Naschmarkt.

I addition to eating them pure with a drizzle of lemon juice, I like to serve mine with completely different sauces: one, a classic mignonette of sherry and shallots, and the other, Jamie Oliver's chilli, ginger an rice wine sauce (my wife's favorite).

Ingredients (serves 2 for a decadent brunch, or 6 as appetizers)
  • 24 freshly chucked Bélon oysters (discard any that are open before you have a go at them with the oyster knife; visit for tips on how to open an oyster)
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
For the mignonette:
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (any Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling will do)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste

For Jamie's chilli, ginger, rice wine vinegar sauce:
  • 1/2 thumb-sized fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • half a handful (or maybe a bit less) of coriander leaves, thinly sliced


For the mignonette
  1. Mix white wine and sherry vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat.
  2. Leave to cook until the mixture is reduced by half.
  3. Take off the heat and mix in the shallots, pepper and salt. 
  4. Set aside to steep and pour into small ramekins before serving.
For the chilli, ginger, rice wine vinegar sauce
  1.  Mix ginger, rice wine vinegar, chilli and coriander in small bowl.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Pour into small ramekins to serve.
Arrange the oysters on a plate with crushed ice and lemon wedges and serve with the sauces. Drink lots of champagne and watch the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year concert...IF you don't have to kids that need constant entertaining. Oh well. Maybe we'll be able to experience it next year ourselves. 

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