seafood appetizers

Oysters & Champagne

Kumamoto Oysters with Jeweled Vegetable Mignonette on Shiso Leaves

Kumamoto Oysters with Jeweled Vegetable Mignonette on Shiso Leaves

Kumamoto Oysters with Jeweled Vegetable Mignonette on Shiso Leaves

For Valentine’s Day this year, let’s start off with savory, salty, plump and juicy Kumamoto oysters and refreshingly bubbly champagne, before indulging in all of that ubiquitous chocolate. Not that there is anything wrong with chocolate as your encore. This oyster appetizer is a delicious and healthfully balancing way to prime the body’s digestive pump with some blood sugar stabilizing seafood protein and crunchy vegetables.

 

You will be amazed at the difference the type of oyster can make. I never really liked oysters until I tasted Kumamotos from the Pacific North West. I had only had the East Coast variety - flat, slimy, briny. They are actually a different genus than the Pacific North-West. Kumamotos are the perfect bite size, pink rather than grey, plump rather than flat, sweet and creamy, with gorgeously ruffled shells that can double as ornaments. And no cocktail sauce shall ever clutter the sweetness of these precious gems for me - only mignonette; Moscatel or sherry vinegar with minced shallot and pepper.

 

When I prepare Oysters Mignonette for myself or loved ones, I add another level of visual, textural, flavorful and nourishing panache: a little smorgasbord of toppings for the chooser’s whim. Finely minced cucumber, radish, chives, and celery freshen the experience and add a pleasing crunch to augment all that creaminess. Of course the crisp splash of champagne, in between bites, lends the perfect exuberance to this elegant repast.

Shallots

Shallots

 Kumamoto Oysters with Mignonette Sauce

 Mignonette Recipe

Ingredients

  • Moscatel or Sherry Wine Vinegar (or any wine vinegar you like)

  • Minced Shallot

  • Optional minced vegetables and herbs – cucumber, radish, celery, chive


Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients together in the proportion that tastes and looks good to you.

  2. Add a dash of black, white or red ground pepper if you like.

  3. Drizzle sauce over fresh oysters and enjoy with Champagne.

Red Radishes

Red Radishes

Persian (Mini) Cucumbers

Persian (Mini) Cucumbers

Celery

Celery

A Jubilant July Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow

Part 2: Seafood Appetizers

 

Photos by Michael Marquand  Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon  Welcome to Part 2 of our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. In the last post I presented the Red, White and Blue Sparkling Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with our seafood appetizers. In this post I present the appetizers: my versions of oysters on the half shell with mignonette sauce and lobster claw and pea puree crostini.  The fresh oysters on the half shell are adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, made of freshly snipped chives from Mead Meadow’s herb garden, minced mini cucumbers, crushed pink peppercorns and Moscatel wine vinegar.

Photos by Michael Marquand

Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon

Welcome to Part 2 of our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. In the last post I presented the Red, White and Blue Sparkling Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with our seafood appetizers. In this post I present the appetizers: my versions of oysters on the half shell with mignonette sauce and lobster claw and pea puree crostini.

The fresh oysters on the half shell are adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, made of freshly snipped chives from Mead Meadow’s herb garden, minced mini cucumbers, crushed pink peppercorns and Moscatel wine vinegar.

The sourdough crostini slices are loaded with a pureè of shallot and fresh English peas. The freshly caught local lobster claws nestle into the pea pureè . The claws are draped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce and are garnished with fresh pea tendrils. The local seafood vender graciously sold us just the claws we wanted by simply putting our order in a couple of days ahead. Some shops carry fresh containers of just claws, since they also sell just the tails. Because we ordered ahead of time, we were able to ask them to be careful to keep the claws as intact as possible for our aesthetic purposes. Some were a little ripped or separated, but I made due by covering those spots with the sauce. Angela of Mead Meadow grew the peas herself, on my request, to make sure we would have the pods and tendrils for our shoot. In spring and early summer they are plentiful in most markets these days.

The sourdough crostini slices are loaded with a pureè of shallot and fresh English peas. The freshly caught local lobster claws nestle into the pea pureè . The claws are draped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce and are garnished with fresh pea tendrils. The local seafood vender graciously sold us just the claws we wanted by simply putting our order in a couple of days ahead. Some shops carry fresh containers of just claws, since they also sell just the tails. Because we ordered ahead of time, we were able to ask them to be careful to keep the claws as intact as possible for our aesthetic purposes. Some were a little ripped or separated, but I made due by covering those spots with the sauce. Angela of Mead Meadow grew the peas herself, on my request, to make sure we would have the pods and tendrils for our shoot. In spring and early summer they are plentiful in most markets these days.

Lobster Pea Crostini.jpg

Recipes

 Maine Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette of Chives, Minced Cucumbers and Crushed Pink Peppercorns

 Ingredients

·      24 small Maine Oysters

·      1 Lb. Coarse Sea Salt for presentation

Mignonette Sauce

·      1 cup of Moscatel or Sherry Wine Vinegar

·      Small Bunch of Chives

·      1 Tablespoon of Pink Peppercorns

·      One small Persian Cucumber

·      3 Medium Lemons to Make 24 Lemon Wedges

Directions

1.     Sort oysters to discard any dead.

2.     Wash oysters of any sand.

3.     Finely chop Chives.

4.     Finely mince Persian cucumbers, keeping the skin

5.     Crush the Pink Peppercorns

6.     Mix the Chives, Cucumbers and Crushed Pink Peppercorns with the Vinegar

7.     Open Oysters, reserving all liquid.

8.     Lay oysters on a bed of course salt and add the oyster liquid to the oysters.

9.     Spoon a small amount of the Mignonette sauce onto each oyster shell

 Serve immediately while cold with sparkling sangrias.

Lobster Claw Crostini with Fresh Pea Pureè and Lemony Hollandaise Sauce

 Freshly Purchased

 ·      20 Small Fresh Maine Lobster Claws

·      1-2 Sourdough Baguettes Sliced into ½ inch Diagonals

Pea Puree

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound of Fresh English Peas

  • 1 Quart of Water, Vegetable or Seafood Broth, or a mix of your choice

  • 2 Medium Shallots

  • ¼ cup of Amontillado Sherry

  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

  • ½ Teaspoon Ground White Pepper

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the shallots.

  2. Sort the peas for any withered items.

  3. Wash the peas.

  4. In a medium large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil.

  5. Add the shallots and peas.

  6. When the peas are tender and still bright green, remove them & shallots to cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid in a measuring cup.

  7. With a slotted spoon or spider add the cooled peas back into the cooled empty pot with the sherry and pepper.

  8. With an immersion blender pureè the peas, shallots and sherry, adding in cooking liquid as needed, until smooth.

  9. Season with additional sea salt & white pepper to taste, being very careful to allow for salt in the lobster and hollandaise.

Marilinda’s Hollandaise Sauce

 Ingredients

  • 4 free range organic egg yolks

  • ½ cup or more of plu gras (European Style) unsalted butter

  • ½ freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

  • 1 Tbs. Amontillado Sherry

  • 1/8 tsp of ground cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Beat egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt together.

  2. Melt butter in a small pan over very low heat.

  3. Slowly whisk the butter into the egg yolk mixture until it is all incorporated.

  4. Keep whisking constantly until the egg yolks thicken the sauce to the desired consistency.

  5. Briskly whisk in warm sherry to flavor the sauce.

  6. Use the warm sauce immediately.

Tip: To thin and reheat congealed sauce, whisk in a tiny bit of warm water. Garnish             with fresh pea shoots and tendrils.

 To Assemble Crostini

  1. Slice the baguettes.

  2. Spread each slice with about 1-2 tablespoons of pea puree, depending on their size.

  3. Add one claw to each pureè topped slice.

  4. Spoon hollandaise over each of the claws

  5. Garnish with peas shoots and/or tendrils.

Stay tuned for my next post, Part 3 of our Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow. It will feature the main course of cheesy portobello burgers crowned by pickled red onions, avocado mash and baby arugula. The grilled vegetable sides are asparagus, fennel and leeks, accompanied by Moroccan spiced, grilled in their husks, corn on the cob.

Part 4, the finale to the feast, is homemade Maine blueberry cheesecake ice cream popsicles with a do-it-yourself dark chocolate magic shell coating.

 

Mead Meadow Boat House  A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at  Mead Meadow  for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @ MeadMeadow   About Mead Meadow   We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands

Mead Meadow Boat House

A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at Mead Meadow for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @MeadMeadow

About Mead Meadow

We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands