appetizers + hors d'oeuvres,  holiday,  seafood,  vegetarian

Oysters with Pink Peppercorn Mignonette

Oysters intrigue me on so many levels: from their vital role in the ocean ecosystem to the anticipation of cracking open the bivalve to find the treasure inside.

Oysters are often associated with special occasions. Valentine’s Day is no exception. And to adhere to the red and pink motif of the holiday, I chose to make this mignonette with pink peppercorns.

This is by far the best recipe for Pink Peppercorn Mignonette you will ever eat!

No, that’s a lie. It’s not true at all.

Why?  Because those bold, beautiful berries you are buying in the store are not really pink peppercorns.  Peppercorns come from Piper nigrum, and they are black, white, and green. But not pink. Nope.  

It is likely you are buying pink pepperberries impersonating pink peppercorns—pink pepperberries posing as proper pepper. Those fetching fuchsia pepperberries are the dried drupes of the Baies rose plant. Not only is their flavor milder than authentic pepper, but their texture differs, too. The berries have a flaky texture which means they are too soft to be ground; they must be crushed

It is all smoke and mirrors, my friends.

Pepperberries are described as having notes of licorice and sugar but are not nearly as peppery as authentic pepper. Because that is the case, they often used more as an intriguing garnish than a spice, especially in seafood dishes. That, my pretties, is one of the reasons I chose them: they are so charismatic against these pillowy oysters, all enveloped in a lovely paisley-shaped shell.   

The splash of sparkling wine gives these oysters a bright zip. Rest them in rock salt to stabilize them. You don’t want to lose their briny liquor. Yummm!

Taste them and tell me if you, too, are mesmerized.

These creamy gems of the sea garnished with rosy berries pair well with a Chablis or (you guessed it) bubbles.



If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear your feedback!  Comment below and tag #nakedepicurean on your photos.

  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1   tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne or Prosecco
  • 12 oysters on the half shell (shucked)

Combine the vinegar, shallots, peppercorns, and parsley, and sparkling wine; chill. Spoon sauce over oysters.


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