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Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne Mignonette

Chef Justin Odegard's oysters at Ways & Means Oyster House

People still get weird about oysters. “They’re too slimy!” “Too mucous-y!” “Too fishy!”
At times, any of these complaints might indeed be true. But the secret, which oyster lovers know and oyster haters don’t, is that each of these complaints is only ever valid when referring to bad oysters.

A good oyster is firm – slick, yes, but never slimy. A good oyster is tight – it hasn’t had time to spread out. A good oyster is clean-tasting – it should be briny and “of the sea” but not fishy. Definitely not that.

A good oyster is also simple. It’s a crisp, delicate, straightforward revelation, at once primal and sophisticated – a caveman in a cummerbund. And yes, it is an aphrodisiac, not for any scientifically supported reason, but because that combination of raw and refined is undoubtedly sexy.

Chef Justin Odegard’s oysters at Ways & Means Oyster House in Huntington Beach are all of these things. They’re served bracingly cold with a simple champagne mignonette. They are not overly acidic (a problem with so many oysters) or overly complicated. They are just right – from the texture to the aftertaste.

This is where to start your year: healthy, fresh, new (the restaurant just opened in December). Toast each other with some champagne and enjoy being part of the illuminati who know exactly what a good oyster is.

Ways & Means Oyster House, Pacific City, 21022 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, 714.960.4300 :: wmoysters.com

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Champagne Mignonette
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon wild honey
1/4 cup dry Champagne
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon minced parsley
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the wet ingredients together, then add shallots, herbs, salt and black pepper.


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