Friday, January 14, 2011

Oysters with a Sun-Dried Tomato and Parsley Mignonette

Sweet Oysters -- or Choptank Sweets -- are "aqua-cultured" or farmed oysters from the Chesapeake Bay.  These oysters are not raised at the bottom of the bay or on reefs, but in floats just below the surface of the water where they feast on algae.  The oysters are also removed at various points in their development to remove barnacles, mussels and other organisms from their shelles.  The result is a meaty oyster that is low in salinity and briny taste.

However, unlike other oysters, like Chesapeake oysters, the shells of Sweet Oysters are more brittle, making them harder to shuck.  (I'm speaking from experience.)  Once they are shucked, you are greeted with a meaty oyster that is actually sweet in taste (hence, the "sweet" in the name).

When thinking of the mignonette for a sweet oyster, I tried to think of flavors or tastes that would provide a contrast.  The first things to come to mind were earthy flavors.  The sweetness of the oysters are subtle and, therefore, the earthiness of the contrasting flavors also have to be subtle.  So, I chose sun-dried tomatoes and flat-leaf parsley for the mignonette.  The result was very good.

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

12 fresh oysters, shucked (I used Chesapeakes, but any will do)
4 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1 shallot, diced
2-3 tablespoons of white vinegar

 1.  In a non-reactive bowl, add the shallot, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and vinegar. Mix all of the ingredients well. 

2.  Spoon the mignonette over the oysters.


To learn more about Choptank Sweets, check out Sustained Seas.

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