The plate

Oysters & Holiday Sauce Trio from The Biltmore House

photo courtesy of The Biltmore House—photo courtesy of The Biltmore House
Oysters & Holiday Sauce Trio |Darren Poupore

“Historically, chefs at The Biltmore kept a log of the meals they served. Those menu books usually went with the chefs when they moved on, but we do have one in our archive that covers a three-month period in the fall of 1904. In an upper class home in the Gilded Age, it was typical for the chef to send menus to the mistress or master of the house for approval. In the margins of this book, we see notes from Edith Vanderbilt on how many guests would attend the meal and what time it should be served. George Vanderbilt wrote comments on the food. For Thanksgiving dinner that year, the first course was oysters on the half shell. It was the great age of oysters, and the Vanderbilts ate a lot of them. They ate them raw, fried, scalloped, broiled, and à la poule. The recipe here is Biltmore Chef Spencer Hilgeman’s updated version of Thanksgiving oysters on the half shell.” — Darren Poupore, Chief CuratorOysters & Holiday Sauce Trio 
The Biltmore, AshevilleCocktail Sauce½ cup ketchup2 tablespoons prepared horseradish1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauceCharred Onion Relish5 green onions, charred or lightly sautéed and chopped2 tablespoons chopped parsley½ jalapeño, thinly sliced2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar3 teaspoons olive oil2 teaspoons of salt1 teaspoon ground pepperSparkling Mignonette2 tablespoons chopped parsley1 tablespoon mirin1 shallot, sliced2 tablespoons Champagne vinaigrette1 tablespoon honey2 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon ground pepper¼ cup Biltmore brut sparkling wineCombine ingredients for each sauce into separate bowls, allowing mignonette to sit for two hours.To shuck oysters, use a folded towel to protect your hand. Rather than pushing hard with the shucker, jiggle it like a key to pop the hinge of each oyster. Once open, remove the muscle from the bottom of the shell for easy eating.