The Perfect Sauce for Raw Oysters

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While purists usually prefer their oysters with just a squeeze of lemon juice or a dollop of hot sauce, the easy-to-make homemade champagne mignonette can help balance out the salty brininess that turns some folks away. “Oysters tend to be very salty,” says Rowan Jacobsen, author of A Geography of Oysters who also runs the website, “so a touch of mignonette takes the perceived brine down a notch and lets you enjoy the other oyster flavors while the pepper and shallots keep things lively on the tongue.”

It also adds a classy made-from-scratch touch to any dinner party, backyard barbeque or clam-bake. Also note, the longer you keep the Mignonette Sauce – up to about a month – the more the flavors develop and the better it tastes. Here’s how to whip up your own Mignonette today, for next weeks oysters. According to Jacobsen, “Champagne mignonette is gentler than traditional red-wine mignonette and a better match with oysters.”



  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of minced shallots,
  • 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt


Place call ingredients in a jar and shake thoroughly. Cchill for an hour or a month, shuck some fresh Kumamoto or Prince Edward Island oysters (any oysters will do, but these are our favorites to have with a mignonette), and serve it up with a few small spoons.

For a more flavorful twist to the basic mignonette recipe, try adding a pinch of grated ginger or garlic cloves to the mix. You can also put the mignonette into the freezer and make a granita out of it.

“My personal favorite is an iced champagne mignonette, courtesy of Elliot’s Oyster House in Seattle, which solves the problem of the mignonette running off your oysters when you eat them, and the tart little ice crystals burst onto your tongue when you eat them.”