A Twist on A Classic Mignonette




Mignonette, the acidic sauce served beside or on top of oysters, helps to balance out oysters salty sweetness. You might not make one often, but having a mignonette in your cooking repertoire is a must. This is especially true as the weather heats up and summer barbecues fill our calendars. When you pick up your oysters, say no to the sickly sweet cocktail sauce and whip up your own quick mignonette. This recipe uses the milder and more nuanced white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and makes enough for one dozen oysters, scale up as needed and serve in a small dish.


  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve.


Steamed Mussels with Homemade Pasta


photo credit: Pippa Biddle

Whole Foods is a bit of a trek for me but since I had a meeting in Columbus Circle I stopped by as a special food shopping treat. It is amazing how good the produce is even in the depths of winter. The best surprise were some amazing looking mussels in the seafood department for $3.00/lb. With two lbs in the cart I picked up some lemon, shallot, parsley, and was good to go! The pasta dough recipe I use calls for 2 cups flour, 1tsp salt, 3 eggs, 2 tbsp, and works great. I would have loved to use a semolina based recipe but have been too lazy to restock it recently. If you don’t want to break out the paste roller go for some nice thin pasta like spaghetti or thinner.

Steamed Mussels

  • 2lb Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded, discard any that do not close when tapped or are cracked.
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

1. Put large pot on stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots. Sauté shallots until translucent.

2. Add garlic, mussels, lemon, and thyme. Pour in wine, cover and reduce heat to low. Steam for about 10 minute or until the mussels are wide open. Cook pasta while mussels are steaming.

3. Remove mussels from pot while retaining the juices. Turn heat up to medium and whisk in half of the flour. Whisk vigorously until thickened so that the whisk leaves a trail. If the sauce doesn’t thicken within 3 minutes add flour 1 tsp at a time.

4. Toss pasta with butter, top with mussels, pour sauce over, and sprinkle with parsley.

*Serve with a bowl for shells.

The next day I took the left over mussels out of their shells and mixed them in with some left over tomato soup. It was the perfect lunch served hot with a piece of crusty sourdough bread!

Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle

Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle