Oysters to me say elegance. To others they say viagra, but I think that's mostly bi-valve fascinated men. In any case, this dish was a lot of fun to prepare, especially the shucking part.
If you're not shucking the oysters yourself make sure to ask the shucker to reserve some of the oyster liquor for the vinaigrette (bring along a plastic container). I served the oysters on toast, but I think they would have been more glamourous in the shell. Either way, it's a show-stopping first course.
Oyster Heirloom Carrot & Watermelon Radish Salad with Warm Oyster Vinaigrette
1 Bunch heirloom carrots with multiple colors. You might want to purchase 2 bunches if you feel the carrots are small.
1 bag mesculen lettuce mix
2-3 oysters / person
1/4 cup oyster liquor
6 Tablespoons champagne vinaigrette
1/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
toast rounds or oyster shells for presentation
Before I start writing how to prep this, let me first say that that there are 2 sauces here. There's the vinaigrette for the oysters without any oil and the vinaigrette for the salad that is warm. Oil and oysters don't mix for me.
1. Using a mandolin slice carrots to 1/8" thickness and reserve on a damp paper towel. The ruby red carrots bleed in color like beets, so try not to put them next to the other carrot slices.
2. Steam carrot slices for 1-2 minutes until they are al dente.
3. Shuck oysters. I'm not going to explain this here because you really need some one to show you how to do it otherwise you end up jabbing your hand. Reserve 1/4 of the liquor and strain through cheesecloth.
4. If serving the oyster in the shell (which I think will be prettier) dunk the oyster still attached to the bottom shell into a big bowl of ice cold water. This will loosen any grit. Because the oysters are being served with a salad it is important to make sure sand and stuff won't mix in with the vegetables. Sometimes I like to remove the oyster completely from the shell, wash the shell, and put the oyster back in before serving.
5. Sauce for oysters: let half of shallot macerate in 3 Tablespoons of champagne vinaigrette for at least one hour. Spoon a small amount over oysters before serving.
6. Warm vinaigrette: heat oyster liquor to a simmer, take off heat and whisk in olive oil and champagne vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. You can use a hand mixer to mousse this up if you want little sea foam bubbles on the plate. Mix with salad and carrots separately and arrange on plate.