Culinary Adventures, Recipes
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Bluff oysters and Red Red Mignonette


Bluff oyster season kicked off last week and so far, I’ve scoffed 3 dozen.

Oysters can be an acquired taste but I have the taste for oysters in my genes. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love them, though I didn’t grow up on Bluffies. If you’re not an oyster fan, I wouldn’t recommend starting with raw oysters and certainly not with Bluffies. They are truely for the oyster connoisseur. The season is March to August and fans go a little crazy for the season.

Bluff oysters can be identified by their flat saucer shape and their creamy warm grey colouring. They’re less “frilly” than their black and white Pacific cousins. My very first bluff oyster was at a design event a few years ago, the oysters were free and shucked to order. Being a design event rather than a food event, there was no one queuing up for oysters. Not one to turn down free oysters, I kept eating as long as they were shucking.

This was the first time buying oysters in a tub and I was well impressed. They certainly don’t look as cool as served in shell but there are a few benefits. They are cheaper than eating them in a restaurant (even with the great restaurant specials) and they are bigger. There’s also the added benefit that you can eat these plump Bluffies at your own pace, I enjoy an oyster (or three) throughout the day while I’m working from home. What a treat!

I grew up on Pacific oysters, served raw with a squeeze of lemon, but lately I’ve been loving mignonette as an alternative. Mignonette (pronounced MIN-yuh-NET) literally, French for cracked pepper and traditionally made with minced shallots, cracked black pepper and vinegar.

This simple recipe makes plenty of mignonette for a dozen oysters and is easily multiplied for more. If you’re enjoying more oysters, substitute “tablespoons” for “parts” in the recipe. Finely chopped red onion and red wine vinegar combine to make a pretty pinky-purple topping. Some recipes call for salt in mignonette but Bluffies are saline so I find they don’t need any extra salt, if you are using sweeter oysters, add salt!


Red Red Mignonette


  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Serve with a lemon cheek and a dozen very cold, very fresh Bluff oysters.




  1. Oh my God, you are so lucky. Oysters are my favorite food and luckily, I live in California where they are plentiful but those bluffies sound amazing! Wish they weren’t so far away. Mignonette is the best.

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