It’s Time for Oysters
October 06, 2014
The story of Mac’s is forever intertwined with our hometown’s most famous bivalve – the Wellfleet Oyster. One of my fondest memories is learning how to shuck an oyster with my grandfather (a tradition passed on to my daughters Bella and Lili as soon as they could confidently hold a shucking knife.) Later, when we opened our first location at the Pier, our customers couldn’t get enough of them. So much so that we opened an online shop to meet off season demand. Two restaurants and three seafood markets later, the story is the same. Raw, smoked, fried or grilled. In a slider, stew or cocktail shooter. Served with mignonette or cocktail sauce (or just a squeeze of lemon.) The distinct taste of the Wellfleet Oyster can complement most any dish - or simply stand alone. Earthy and plump, resting in a perfectly balanced brine. The mouthfeel is creamy, sweet and mild. The finish is crisp, clean and satisfying. There really is nothing like a fresh Wellfleet Oyster.
Keeping your Oysters Fresh
The key is to keep oysters cold and moist. Place the oysters in a colander or bowl, cover with a wet dish towel and store in the bottom of the fridge (they'll last unopened for about a week.) Do not put oysters directly in water or in a closed plastic bag. Keep them really cold until you are ready to shuck and eat. If you are serving raw oysters on the half shell, make sure they are resting on a bed of ice until consumed.
Hog Wash (aka Mac's Famous Oyster Mignonette Sauce)
¾ cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar*
¾ cup Unseasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
½ cup Jalapeño Pepper, finely diced (about 2 peppers)
½ cup Red Fresno Chili, finely diced* (about 2 peppers)
¼ cup shallot, finely diced
¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Remove the seeds and core from the Jalapeño Pepper and Red Fresno Chili and cut into a small dice. Finely chop the cilantro, dice the shallots, and zest and juice the lime. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with the seasoned and unseasoned rice wine vinegars, and pepper. Let the sauce rest for 30 minutes if you can wait – the flavors really bloom.
Grab a spoon and splash atop a freshly shucked Wellfleet Oyster.
- Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar is made by adding sugar and salt (or sometimes sake) to plain white rice vinegar. The bottle is clearly labeled as “seasoned” and is available in most markets where regular rice wine vinegar is sold.
- Red Fresno Chilies are nice and hot – and in season right now. A Serrano Pepper is a decent substitution.
- Store any leftover sauce in a sealed container in the fridge. Hog Wash only gets better with age.
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