The countdown is on my fellow romantics. If you haven’t booked a restaurant or come up with your romantic menu to cook by now, chances are you may find yourself on your jack jones (own). Don’t fret–The H.I. will sort you out.
I specifically chose to do oysters for Valentine’s Day not only because they’re renowned for being the food of love but because they’re simple to do and they make a big impression while going easy on the pocket book. I decided to make a mignonette, a sauce made typically with vinegar, pepper and herbs and served especially with oysters, because I thought it was more playful and elegant than your regular cocktail sauce. Every little helps, wouldn’t you say?
1 dozen oysters
1 1/2 tbsp. Champagne vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp shallots – very fine dice
2 tsp chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until needed. That’s it–simple, elegant and delicious!
Not only are oysters delicious they’re reputation for being healthy is impressive. They’re considered to be one of the most nutritionally well balanced foods because they contain protein, carbohydrates and lipids. They’re high in protein, low in fat and calories, low in cholesterol and chockful of vitamins.
It’s important to know how to purchase your oysters. Like all shellfish, fresh oysters need to be alive when you purchase them, with their shells tightly shut or, if slightly open, should close when tapped. Avoid ones that gape open as they’re most likely dead and avoid ones with a noticeable odor. I purchased mine at Whole Foods and they shucked them for me as I continued to shop–brilliant. As for consuming them, you may have heard of the “R” rule, only eat oysters during months which have the letter R in them, Sept-April, but today that is not necessarily the case. In the old days, the lack of refrigeration made it risky to eat oysters during the hot months. These days oysters can certainly be eaten in the summer but the risks from bacteria, which love the warmer water of summer are greater. In addition, oysters in most areas are spawning during the summer, which changes their texture from firm to milky, their taste from sweet to bitter. With the exception of one kind, the Kumamoto, which is actually best in summer, oysters taste best in fall and winter. You may have seen the oyster article in this month’s Bon Appetit. Pretty much confirms how spot-on I am!
All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.