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Episode 102: Chef's Surprise

"Oysters should be tightly closed and smell briny and salty, like the sea."
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Serves: 6

• 2 dozen fresh oysters in the shell
• 1/2 cup champagne or sparkling wine
• 2 to 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
• 1 shallot, minced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 6 lemon wedges as a garnish
• Sprigs of flat-leaf Italian parsley as a garnish

Clean and shuck oysters:
Fresh oysters should be tightly closed and smell briny and salty, like the sea. Use them as quickly as possible, preferably the same day. (If you are storing them, keep them in a bowl or mesh bag in the refrigerator, loosely covered with a moistened kitchen towel, for up to 24 hours.)

To clean oysters, using a good stiff brush, wash and brush them under the coldest water that runs from your tap.

To shuck oysters, hold the oyster in a folded kitchen towel and then slip a sturdy, short oyster knife (which has a strong, pointed blade and a shield to protect your hand) into the hinge end, pop the top open, and run the knife along the edge until the top comes off (discard the top shell). Then cut the tendon that holds the oyster to the shell. To finish, flip the oyster in the shell to show its smooth underside.

Place the open oysters in a single layer, on a bed of rock salt.

Make the champagne mignonette:
In a small bowl, whisk together the champagne, champagne vinegar, and shallots. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place in a small bowl and serve it alongside the oysters. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Recipe ©2004 Joanne Weir from Weir Cooking in the City, reprinted by permission.

Chef's Surprise
• Oysters with Champagne Mignonette
• Truffle Scented Cornish Hens with Prosciutto and Wild Mushrooms
• Individual Warm Raspberry Soufflés

Wine Suggestions
First: Champagne or Savignon Blanc
Main: Barbera, Barolo, or Pinot Noir

Joanne's Tips & Guidelines
Top Ten Tips on Food and Wine Pairing

Top Ten Classic Food and Wine Pairings

Do's and Don'ts for Menu Planning

The Essential Mediterranean Pantry

The Essential Asian Pantry

The Essential Latin Pantry

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