The Bare-Bones Pantry Marinade Jacques Pépin Uses For Fresh Oysters

The best chefs know that less is often more when it comes to preparing mouth-watering dishes, and for Jacques Pépin, delicious oysters call for just that: A no-fuss marinade that lets the natural taste of these saltwater creatures take center stage.

Pépin told Bon Appétit that his kitchen is always stocked with garlic paste, particularly for moments when oysters are destined to become the dish of the hour. By poaching oysters in a mixture of garlic paste, white wine, and unsalted butter, Pépin serves oysters in a marinade that is subtle enough to elevate briny, earthy flavors without taking away any of the gastronomic allure of ingredients taken fresh from the sea.

Depending on where the oysters are from, the unique dish can offer varieties in both size and taste. White wine adds delicate touches of acidity and flavor to dishes, and by pairing the ingredient with oysters, some of the more common tasting notes  — like butter, cream, melon, cucumber, and even copper — can be highlighted.

Simple and satisfying natural flavors

When considering which wine to incorporate into your Pépin-prescribed garlicky, buttery marinade, consider the texture and taste of the oysters you're planning to serve. Choose a wine blend that can amplify the flavor of your oysters and use unsalted butter to finish the marinade, as Pépin suggests, to create a rich mouthfeel that won't distract from the briny saline already present in the dish.

If you're ready to take on a slightly more complicated oyster accouterment and enjoy the taste of Pépin's flavorful, vinegary recipe, prepare a shallot mignonette made up of white wine vinegar, ground black peppercorns, springs of tarragon, minced shallots, and salt to taste. With these easy and satisfying serving options, the only intimidating task you'll need to overcome when serving oysters is the shucking. 

Our tip: Freeze the oysters to open them easily without risk of injury by an oyster knife.