Reconsidering the Oyster

Two easy, inventive toppings for New Year's Eve oysters

Even with over-the-top New Year's Eve parties on the decline, the holiday is a perfect chance to bring a little decadence back into your life. And a platter of fresh, glistening oysters—along with these two easy accompaniments—is an affordable luxury you shouldn't deny yourself.

At Market Table's New Year's Eve dinner, chef Mike Price will serve this spicy, Asian-influenced mignonette alongside briny Beau Soleil oysters from Prince Edward Island. Chef Maneet Chauhan, of the new Indian-Latin restaurant At Vermilion, brings together the classic combination of Champagne and raw oysters with a bit of illusionary magic: faux caviar made from gelled Champagne. Chauhan suggests serving this inventive topping over creamy Kumamoto oysters, which have a fresh, cucumbery flavor.

The best time to purchase oysters is the day you plan to eat them (though you should order them in advance). Wild Edibles and Citarella offer a range of oysters that you can have shucked and placed on ice for New Year's Eve pickup. And don't forget the Champagne.

Market Table Oysters with Chili-Cilantro Mignonette

Makes 6 servings

1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar


2 tablespoons finely minced shallots


1 teaspoon sambal oelek

(a spicy Asian chili paste, available at Kalustyan's

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
 


2 dozen Beau Soleil oysters (or other variety), on the half shell
 


In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Serve with the oysters.

Oysters with Champagne Ginger Jelly

Makes 6 servings

8 gelatin sheets

1 cup Champagne

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

2 dozen Kumamoto oysters, on the half shell

1. Submerge the gelatin sheets in water. In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup of the Champagne until warm. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin sheets and stir the gelatin into the warm Champagne until completely dissolved. Stir in the ginger and the remaining ½ cup of Champagne and refrigerate until firm.

2. Grate the jelly over the oysters and serve.