Shucked & Sipped: How to Best Enjoy Oysters & Wine

As we celebrate the final few weeks of summer, now’s the perfect time to toast the season one last time with bubbly and oysters.


Oysters

As we celebrate the final few weeks of summer, now’s the perfect time to toast the season one last time with bubbly and oysters. There’s nothing quite like capping off a hot day with some chilled wine or champagne then slurping up the briny goodness of some freshly shucked oysters. The pairing is a symphony of flavors and textures and it’s hard to stop at just a few.

If you like variety you can easily mix and match the five existing types of oysters (Atlantic, Pacific, Kumamoto, Olympias, and Belons) with a wide variety of wines. While most people associate white wine and champagne with oysters, this ocean delicacy also pairs brilliantly with rosés and even some reds. Here are some great ways to sip wines and savor oysters:

Five Tips to Better Enjoy Oysters and Wine:

1. Only Open Them Close to Your Event

Shucking oysters can take some time, especially if you’re having a lot of people over. However, resist the urge to start shucking far in advance as this will compromise the taste of your oysters. The earliest you should shuck them is two hours before to ensure the best flavor and texture. Make sure the oyster is fully detached from its shell by using a seafood fork to separate them — this makes for ideal slurping without any pulling.

2. Dress Them Up

Vinaigrettes add amazing acidity and flavor to oysters, and you can play around with the ingredients to make your own. Popular ingredients in vinaigrettes for oysters include shallots, horseradish, and herbs but you can also get more creative and use ingredients like fennel, tamarind or liqueurs to flavor your them. Just drizzle your oyster with your dressing of choice to dress up an already sumptous oyster.

3. Play with Textures

Just like with flavors you can also play around with textures when it comes to your oysters. Add a bit of crunch to them by adding ingredients like crumbled bacon or crunchy pomegranate to give your oysters some dimension.

4. Pair with the Right Wine

Now that you have your oysters dressed and ready, pick out the wine you want to go with them. Crisp white wines like Muscadet, Pinot Grigio or Albariño are always good choices, and Sauvignon Blanc is also typically a crowd-pleaser. Needless to say, champagne and oysters have been a cocktail party favorite for decades for a reason, the bubbles and brininess of oysters are a great match. That being said other bubbles, such as Cava or Prosecco can also be delightful. Some even like an effervescent red like a Lambrusco to go with their oysters.

5. Take Chilled to the Next Level

You can pair oysters with chilled wine or champagne but you can also dress your oysters up extra cold with a variation of an icy topping such as granita. Granitas are shaved ice that can be made with a variety of ingredients and even alcohols. In the summertime, a granita of lime and cucumber is refreshing and pairs well with chilled wine. Below is a simple recipe to make this oyster topper which is best enjoyed on a hot summer day.

Recipe

Cucumber Granita
(Recipe via Bon Appetit)

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of 1/2-inch pieces peeled, seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Matcha green tea powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

RECIPE PREPARATION

In a blender, purée cucumber to a fine pulp. Add lime juice, green tea powder, and salt. Season with more salt and lime juice, if desired. Transfer to a large metal baking pan and freeze until solid.
Using the tines of a fork, scrape into fine shards. Spoon over fresh raw oysters or scallops.

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