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What is mignonette?

The French word mignonette has multiple culinary meanings.

It originally referred to a peppercorn- and clove-filled cheesecloth sachet used to flavor soups, and now signals coarsely ground, usually white peppercorns. It is the name of a sweet-smelling Mediterranean flower. A mignonette can also mean the choice, nugget-like parts of various meats -- like noisettes of lamb and filet mignon -- as well as potatoes cut in thick matchsticks.

Finally, a mignonette sauce -- made with a base of vinegar and finely chopped shallots to which white or black pepper, salt, wine, lemon juice or herbs like chives or chervil are sometimes added -- is often served with raw oysters. Note that purists believe that oysters taste best unadorned.

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