ROMANCE ON THE HALF SHELL

Today February the Fourteenth is the very popular global holiday celebrating true love and all matters romantic. Yet in the Third Century AD it was a day set aside to honor of Bishop Valentine, who was cruelly executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II.

In fact, the very word ‘holiday’ comes from combining the two words used to describe such religious ‘holy-days’. The word took its final form when the ‘y’ was replaced with an ‘i.

Because Bishop Valentine was a sainted martyr, his saint day was marked in red on the medieval calendar of church observances. As a result, it became traditionally to honor the gentle Saint by sending romance messages on red tinted paper - a custom still continued today in the design of countless Valentine cards. - over 180 million annually!

There are many legends surround the cause for Valentine’s death. The most historic accounts record that Valentine was a devout priest who helped young men marry against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II. Apparently Claudius felt men were better soldiers when they weren’t romantically longing for home. Thankfully romance won out then - and hopefully now.

Today Valentine’s is a major dining-out day and red is still a favorite culinary theme, especially when a pomegranate mignonette is matched with Casanova’s favorite romantic dish - oysters on the half shell.

Romantic Pomegranate Mignonette

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Pomegranate, Seeds and Juice
  • 1 Small Shallot, Finely Diced
  • 2-3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Flat Leaf Parsley or Dill, Optional
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to Taste
  • Fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters
  • Rock Salt

Directions

  1. Mix first five ingredients together.
  2. Shuck the fresh oysters, reserving oyster meats in bottom shell.
  3. Spoon mignonette over fresh oysters in the half shell.
  4. Place garnished oyster in shell carefully on bed of rock salt and serve.