This oyster vinaigrette or mignonette sauce is the perfect accompaniment for freshly shucked oysters.
At home we are an oyster family, in short, we love oysters on any day of the week. It comes in handy that we live at the coast and have access to great seafood.
A squeeze of lemon juice is usually enough but my favourite way to eat raw oysters is with a spoon of shallot vinaigrette, aka mignonette sauce.
If you ever wondered how this classic oyster vinaigrette is made, you might be surprised to know it only requires a few steps and is great to be made ahead.
what is a mignonette sauce
A mignonette sauce is a vinaigrette like dressing that was invented in New York in the 1930's and is famously served with shucked oysters.
The word mignonette refers to the cracked black pepper that is part of the original recipe along with shallots and red wine vinegar.
There are only 3 ingredients in a classic mignonette:
Shallots are naturally slightly sweet and less pungent than onions. The closest to shallots, if not available, are red onions.
Red wine vinegar is the preferred vinegar in a mignonette however you can use a substitute instead. Champagne, sherry, raspberry or apple cider vinegar work well too.
Black peppercorns make part of a good mignonette sauce. If you want a different kind of spice you can add chillies, jalapeno or tabasco instead.
how to make oyster vinaigrette
The mignonette is done in three simple steps:
First. Peel and cut the shallots into fine brunoise (small dices). Ideally do this step by hand using a sharp knife, alternatively you can mince the shallots in a food processor but be careful not to mush the shallots.
Second. Add the vinegar to the bowl of shallots submerging them entirely.
Third. Add the cracked black pepper to the vinaigrette, preferably straight from the pepper mill.
Stir the mignonette with a spoon and keep covered in the fridge until needed. The longer you keep it in the fridge, better will be the flavours of the mignonette.
When you are ready to serve, just give it a quick stir.
how long can you keep shallot mignonette
The mignonette will last up to a month in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the vinaigrette and serve it as a granita.
how to serve oyster vinaigrette
The sauce is best served with fresh oysters. If you prepare oysters at home for the first time and are not sure how to open them, follow our guide for oyster shucking.
Add the mignonette in a ramekin and serve with a small spoon.
If you are hosting a canape event, you can add the mignonette directly to the oysters and pass them around. Make sure the oyster is loose in the shell before serving.
more seafood appetizers
Here are some more seafood recipes that will pair well with a plate of oysters and shallot mignonette
- salmon tartare with avocado and wasabi
- a light crab salad with watermelon gazpacho
- this hamachi crudo with coriander and chilli
- a classic prawn and grapefruit cocktail
- baked scallops with miso and ginger butter
Hope these recipes inspire you to host your next seafood brunch!
oyster vinaigrette (shallot mignonette)
- 1 medium shallot
- 115 millilitre red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper (preferably from a pepper mill)
- Peel the shallot and cut into small dices (brunoise) with a sharp knife. Add the shallots into a jar or bowl.
- Add the red wine vinegar to the shallots.
- With a pepper mill crack the black pepper over the shallot vinegar mignonette and mix with a spoon.
- Keep chilled in the refrigerator until needed.