What side dishes pair best with oysters? Simple, fresh pairings like edamame, Caesar salad, coleslaw, asparagus, and corn on the cob best compliment oysters without overpowering its authentic flavors. However, hearty side dishes such as fries, linguine, hushpuppies, or mashed potatoes make a quick, satisfying meal.
Fresh oysters on the half shell are a unique and delicious eat and equally fun to serve at home. So, whether you’re a rookie wondering how to serve these versatile seafood items or a seasoned oyster eater looking for new, refreshing ways to spruce them, these side pairings are beyond doubt worth trying.
Japanese for “beans on a branch,” edamame is a soybean picked when young and green, making it soft and edible unlike its mature counterpart. They are available fresh in the pod, hulled, or frozen.
Edamame offers a mild buttery flavor, making it an ideal pairing for oysters.
You can serve edamame straight from its pod – squeezing the bean into your mouth is a fun and tasty experience. More so, the hulled version is perfect for adding to salads or rice dishes that’ll help fill your plate and belly.
Lastly, take your edamame beans to a whole new level by sautéing the boiled beans in a flavorful izakaya-inspired garlic and oyster sauce.
The Caesar salad is a default option for nearly every restaurant chain. And this crowd-pleasing salad works jolly well as a side dish for oysters.
A Caesar salad consists of crisp romaine leaves, crunchy garlic croutons, and a little or a lot of anchovies tossed in a creamy dressing of eggs, lemon, olive oil, parmesan, worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste.
This savory, creamy, tangy, and crunchy combination is a light, fresh way to compliment the fresh oyster on the half shell.
There is truly no side dish quite as versatile as bright, flavorsome, and refreshing coleslaw. This tangy cabbage salad rounds out seafood dishes like fried fish, lobster, and oysters – making them extraordinary!
Coleslaw is light and creamy, offering a beautiful contrast to oysters’ richness and umami taste profile, especially when fried.
Coleslaw is also budget-friendly! You’ll need a red or green cabbage head, a large carrot, a green apple, chopped parsley, a minced shallot, a mayo or vinegar-based dressing, and seasonings to throw a bowl of tasty coleslaw together.
The creativity of coleslaw is endless and highly customizable; you can substitute the mayo for Greek yogurt or a vinaigrette to keep it light and healthy. Alternatively, add extra veggies or raisins to your coleslaw to alter the taste.
Asparagus has an earthy flavor similar to broccoli or intensely flavored green beans; however, the purple or white asparagus varieties taste milder.
Asparagus tends to pick up the flavor from the other foods it’s cooked with, making it a phenomenal pairing for oysters.
You can cook asparagus in many different ways – sauteed, steamed, boiled, fried, or roasted. We prefer pan-frying or sauteeing our asparagus spears in butter, garlic, and a squirt of lemon juice. However, consider adding oyster sauce to enhance the Asian-inspired flavors of oysters.
Corn On The Cob
Corn on the cob is a delightful summer combination for oysters and other kinds of seafood alike.
Whether you are preparing a clam or oyster bake, frying your oysters in batter, or enjoying them on the half shell, a few ears of corn are an excellent addition to the party. The corn has a mild sweetness that pairs well with oysters.
The corn’s flavor blends best with oysters when the kernels are slightly charred. Therefore, we recommend completely removing the husk and silk from the corn. Apply a thin layer of olive oil or butter, and sprinkling kosher salt to the ears before tossing them above the hot coals to grill and slightly char them.
You can also spice up your corn kernels by lightly seasoning them with cayenne pepper or bird’s eye chilies and lime juice.
French fries are probably the highest expression of the humble potato – they taste like pure bliss!
When your teeth crash through the crispy crust, falling upon the pillowy center of a French fry, and the smattering of grease and grains of salt coat your lips, you’ll understand why this classic is a perfect pairing for oysters.
Frech fries are a substantially filling side dish that you can spruce up with parmesan cheese, rosemary, kosher salt, or garlic powder.
You’ll want to parboil your potato slices and boil them till they are golden brown. More so, for a slightly healthier variation, replace your standard potatoes with sweet potato – their vibrant orange tones will enliven your dish.
Linguine is a long, strand pasta thought to have originated in Italy’s Liguria, a coastal region in the northwestern side of the country. Because of this, it is traditionally served with seafood and pesto or red sauce. However, you can use similar pasta like spaghetti or angel hair.
The ingredients of a linguine seafood mixture come together and make for a quick, classic dish to whip up on weeknights or weekends. Canned smoked oysters or fried oysters work well tossed in a bowl of linguine.
We recommend adding minced garlic, chopped tomatoes, dry white wine, and fresh parsley to the oysters and linguine.
Hushpuppies are a novice-friendly, deep-fried side dish made from a thick cornmeal-based batter that compliments seafood dishes, including oysters, exceptionally well!
These crispy nuggets are a timeless choice and deceptively simple to make at home using only a few pantry staples. They are made from a basic batter of yellow cornmeal, flour, eggs, buttermilk or milk, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. However, the base lends itself to riffing – you can add scallions, onions, shrimp, spicy peppers, cheese, and spices.
Fry these quirky cornmeal treats until crispy on the outside and tender-chewy inside. Lastly, consider pairing them with a tartar or ranch dip.
There is no simpler dish than mashed potatoes! But, despite its simplicity, it is a comforting, classic side that you can dress up or down.
Mashed potatoes are perfect for oyster dishes with a creamy, rich sauce. They are great for soaking up the additional juices.
While potatoes work perfectly well as a stand-alone side dish, they are even better when you spruce up the spuds with butter, garlic, cream cheese, and chives.
You’ll want to peel and cut several potatoes and then add them to the pot of boiling water and salt. Next, drain the potatoes once tender and mash them. Lastly, add butter and the seasonings of your choice.
Best Wine Pairings For Oysters
Whether you are on your way out to dinner or hosting guests at home, knowing how to pair your fresh oysters on the half shell, fried oysters, or oyster pasta with the perfect glass of wine will make you look like a true food connoisseur.
Various wines taste delectable with oysters; however, we recommend using Sauvignon Blanc, muscadet, champagne, or chardonnay to exhilarate your tastebuds.
- Sauvignon Blanc is light, crisp, and heavy on acidity, making it ideal for any seafood, including oysters. The acid edge makes Sauvignon Blanc especially tasty alongside raw oysters.
- Muscadet offers a bone-dry texture and high acidity with notes of fresh green lime, apples, or pears. It’s genuinely delectable alongside oysters.
- Champagne is a classic drink to pair with seafood, and it’s incredibly delicious with oysters. The yeast, bready flavor adds and textural contrast against the oysters’ smooth texture.
- Chardonnay offers a mouth-watering combination alongside fried or smoked oysters.
Best Sauces For Oysters
While a spritz of fresh lemon juice enlightens the delectable briny flavor of oysters, we have three alternative sauces that compliment oysters exceptionally well – cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce, and Tobasco sauce.
Cocktail sauce is a traditional topping for oysters that is straightforward to make at home. All you need is one tablespoon of jarred or freshly grated horseradish and ¼ cup ketchup. Stir the mixture well and ideally serve it cold.
Mignonette sauce may sound fancy, but it’s incredibly simple and totally easy with your time! You’ll want to combine one finely minced shallot with 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, then add salt and a generous amount of ground pepper to taste. In addition, for a bit of kick or a more adventurous taste, consider adding a spicy twist of serrano chile and lime.
Tobasco has a sweet, vinegary, and spicy flavor profile similar to vinegar-based chile sauces that make oysters irresistible!