I'm terrified of shellfish. Not the consumption part- I adore clams and mussels and especially oysters, but buying shellfish strikes fear into my heart. I'm never sure how to choose them and I've got it in my head that one wrong move would mean gastronomical doom.

So, my friend scott bought them. I figure a sous chef should know how to choose shellfish.

Silly me, I thought I'd averted disaster. But no. Scott decided I should learn to shuck the little bastards, and handed me an implement that looked as though it would be used for prison escapes. Oh, and a towel. To protect my hand. As though a bar towel would prevent me from burying the short, brutish blade into my palm. It was a cute gesture.

Somehow I managed to get a couple of oysters open without too much damage to shell, meat, or my hand, and we had a place to put Scott's tangelo and shallot mignonette.

If you feel like tempting fate with an oyster knife, here's the mignonette:

juice of one tangelo
super fine diced 1/2 TB shallot
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil

(Note: Scott says, "it's not a true mignonette because it doesn't have vinegar, but..." yeah. I don't care either.)

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