Nothing says New Year’s Eve in the food world like enjoying a few briny bivalves, and we have an abundance of the oyster beauties here on the Gulf Coast. From New Orleans to Apalachicola, I have eaten my share of oysters dressed in a variety of fashions. At this time of year, one of my favorite ways to eat them is in the nude on the half-shell, and with champagne of course! Cold water makes good oysters, and in winter, they’re at their plump, luscious finest. My Virtual Potluck crew was approached by Barenjager to create a holiday recipe using their honey liquor. I decided the perfect way to showcase their beverage was to pair it with a beautiful oyster, topped with a Champagne-Baren Mignoette.
Barenjager is not made from the fermentation of honey, but from blending honey with grain alcohol. This allows the honey flavor and texture to shine through. According to their website at www.barenjagerhoney.com , bear hunters (“barenjager”), in medieval Europe drank something called meschkinnes, a kind of moonshine made from honey by area beekeepers and farmers. In the 15th century, one company called the Teucke and Koing Bear Trap Company introduced Barenjager, the first professionally produced meschkinnes. Today, Barenjager is produced by Schwarze and Schlicte and imported by Sidney Frank Importing Company.
I tried Barenjager in a variety of ways (not all in the same evening). My family enjoyed a glass of champagne topped with Barenjager as a Christmas toast, I tried it with vodka and cranberry juice on another occasion, and I also found Barenjager in hot tea to be quite soothing. I had a tasting panel try the beverage neat, and the overall consensus was positive. Barenjager definitely lingers on the palette with a solid flavor of honey, and most thought it was best to be indulged sparingly. For more drink recipes, you can click here. In the recipe that I’m sharing below, I’m using Barenjager to add a drop of sweetness to the crisp, clean champagne mignoette which will top a succulent Gulf Coast Oyster. This is a refreshing appetizer that your guests can enjoy as they ring in the NewYear.
Please visit our Virtual Potluck Bloggers and try their Recipes by heading to Food Hunters Guide for the complete Round-up of all the holiday fun! Wishing you all a safe and Happy New Year!
- 2 dozen fresh oysters in the shell
- 2 tablespoons Barenjager Honey Liquor
- 1/2 cup champagne
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper and ground sea salt
- Rock salt for oyster bed to serve
- Fresh parsley and lemon wedges for garnish
- 1/2 lemon or tangerine cut into segments peeled and halved.
- Place the open oysters in a single layer, on a bed of rock salt.
Make the champagne mignonette:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the champagne, champagne vinegar, Barenjager, shallots and tangerine segments. Season to taste with ground salt and pepper.
- Place in a small bowl and serve it alongside the oysters. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.
Note: For the freshest oysters, buy them raw in the shell at your local seafood market, and shuck them at home. If uncomfortable doing this, have them shucked at the market and take the shells home with you to serve the Oysters Mignoette. I shop at Shrimpers in Santa Rosa Beach, Destin Ice in Destin, Harbor Docks in Destin, and Joe Patti’s in Pensacola.
Clean and shuck oysters:
- Fresh oysters should be tightly closed and smell briny and salty, like the sea. Use them as quickly as possible, preferably the same day. (If you are storing them, keep them in a bowl or mesh bag in the refrigerator, loosely covered with a moistened kitchen towel, for up to 24 hours.)To clean oysters, using a good stiff brush, wash and brush them under the coldest water setting from your faucet.To shuck the oyster, hold it in a folded kitchen towel and then slip a sturdy, short oyster knife (which has a strong, pointed blade and a shield to protect your hand) into the hinge end, pop the top open, and run the knife along the edge until the top comes off (discard the top shell). Then cut the tendon that holds the oyster to the shell. To finish, flip the oyster in the shell to show its smooth underside.
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