Amazing Matriarch is here to help you host the perfect oyster & white wine paring be it for your next party, or a night in with your special someone.
The best way to pick oysters is to do a taste test; whether it be with a marked, mixed dozen at home or at a local raw bar (check out the 10best oyster bars in Boston or search 10best.com for ideas in your city from other local experts) a sampling will hep you decide what you want to serve.
There’s been a battle between east and west coast oysters for years, personally I find oysters from each coast equally enjoyable, while my husband prefers the more mild flavors and smaller since of west coast oysters. The difference between oyster from each coast is that you’ll find large, firm, meaty morsels of high salinity in the shells of east coast oysters and a slightly sweet melon and cucumber flavor in the smaller, more delicate west coast oysters.
A mix of both is always nice, but as an east coaster with easy access to briny delights from local waters year-round; who buy into the fresh is best when it comes to food (especially raw seafood) movement, I recommend sourcing oysters from local farmers and seafood shacks.
Popular east coast oysters, that are easily accessible and worth shucking at home include:
- Wellfleet – large, meaty, clean tasting with excellent salinity
- PEI, Malpeque– tender, the brininess and sweetness are in balance
- Island Creek– rich, fatty meat with a buttery finish in a deep cup
- Blue Point– medium in size with a mild ocean flavor, meaty and from in texture
Popular west coast oysters worth seeking out include:
- Kumamoto– cucumber flavor, deep cups, small in size
- Fanny Bay– strong cucumber flavor, meaty and firm
Serve shucked on a platter of crushed ice or alongside shucking knives and gloves (oven mitts work well) for a more casual “shuck your own” event.
Whatever oysters you choose to serve and however you choose to serve them, be sure to have a sampling of sauces on hand:
- Tabasco: the watery nature of tabasco allows for a hint of heat without too much bulk to overwhelm the oyster’s texture
- Lemon wedges: technically not a sauce, just a squeeze of lemon over your oyster is all you need to counterbalance the salinity of what’s in the cups
- Cocktail sauce: “beginners” eat oysters with cocktail sauce, but those who truly enjoy the oyster prefer to eat it without as the heft of the this sauce. It’s strong flavor and dense texture can overwhelm the oyster (do not even think of putting on west coast oysters) so use sparingly.
- Mignonette– this vinegar based sauce is easy to prepare and can be altered using various add in (herbs, type of vinegar, & flavoring agents like ginger). My favoirte, simple mignonette to make is from Ina Garten and Food Network.
- Herbed Creme Fraiche– This is delightful on both east and west coast oysters where the mild flavor enhances the oyster; a sorel laced version I tasted at a seminar presented by Brine’s Chef, Justin Shoults at the 2015 Nantucket Wine Festival was perfect, but other herbs can easily be subbed in, just be sure to puree the herbs as to avoid a chunky sauce.
I typically pair my oysters with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Luckily, when participating in the Flight of the Oyster tasting at The Nantucket Wine Festival there was an expert (Philippe Newlin) on hand to create a perfect pairing with dry to sweet Bordeaux; changing how I look at my at home raw bar drink selection forever.
Six that worked well:
- Sirech Les Deux Terroirs Blanc 2013, Pessac-Leognan
- Chateau Marjosse 2013, Entre-Deux-Mers
- Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc 2013, Pessac-Leognan
- Chateau Cos d’Estournel Blanc 2013, Medoc
- Hauts de Smith Blanc 2012, Pessac-Leognan
- Chateau Suduiraut 2007, Pessac-Leognan
Pour your sips and savor the oysters finding the combination that calls to you and filling that glass to the top.
-Helping you rock the raw bar, Jess
What’s your favorite oyster pairing? Tell us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch; Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch