Ayra Stark’s Oysters, Clams & Cockles with Onion Vinegar Sauce Inspired by Game of Thrones

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oysters clams cockles

“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.”

– Ayra Stark to Jaqen H’ghar

What’s Up, Hungry People

For today’s Game of Thrones themed recipe, we meet up with Ayra in Braavos where she’s selling oysters, clams and cockles. If you aren’t caught up on the most recent season of Game of Thrones, be warned there may be mild spoilers in this post!

Echoing Arya Stark’s determination in the face of her journey through Braavos, we find ourselves inspired by her simple yet significant seafood venture. Arya’s days in Braavos, selling oysters, clams, and cockles, weren’t just a cover; they were a masterclass in patience and observation. Much like Arya’s selection for the Thin Man, we, too, aim to craft a dish that could win over any Braavosi merchant—or just a hungry friend with a penchant for shellfish.

Ayra habitually sells oysters, clams and cockles on her morning route while training with the Faceless Man. She frequently sells to a sea merchant who eats the oysters raw with vinegar. And because where I live in the real world is not directly on a seashore, I was unable to find cockles – though fresh mussels work all the same. I’m mildly skeptical of serving raw seafood, living so far inland, that I boiled my crustaceans in a garlic broth prior to serving.

Imagine the bustling markets of Braavos, the air thick with the scent of the sea, and Arya, blending into the crowd, her basket brimming not just with seafood, but with the sharp tang of ambition. In this culinary nod to Arya’s story, we prepare not just a meal, but a testament to adaptability and cunning.

The Thin Man’s preferred way to enjoy his oysters was no simple matter; it was a ritual, with vinegar as his choice of condiment. Taking a leaf out of Arya’s book of disguise and intrigue, we elevate our shellfish with a simple yet refined shallot mignonette, served right in the shell, enhancing the oceanic flavors with a burst of acidity and a hint of sharpness—a tribute to the complexity of Arya’s journey and the depths of her character.

As Arya might say, Valar Morghulis—all men must die. But first, they surely must eat.

ayras oysters clams and cockles with vinegar recipe

Here’s What You Need:

  • raw oysters: Provide a briny, oceanic flavor that’s both delicate and rich.
  • raw clams: Add a sweet, mildly salty taste and a tender texture to the dish.
  • cockles or cooked mussels: Offer a slightly sweet, chewy texture, enhancing the seafood variety.
  • shallot: Brings a mild, slightly sweet onion flavor to the mignonette sauce.
  • garlic: Adds depth and a punch of flavor to both the sauce and broth.
  • apple cider vinegar: Introduces acidity to the mignonette, balancing the sweetness of the seafood.
  • horseradish: Offers a sharp, pungent kick to cut through the richness of the shellfish.
  • fresh parsley: Provides a fresh, green note and color contrast to the dish.
  • oregano: Adds earthiness and a hint of bitterness, complementing the other herbs.
  • red pepper flakes: Introduce a slight heat, adding complexity to the sauce’s flavor profile.
  • salt: Seasons the dish, enhancing the natural flavors of all ingredients.
  • garlic broth base or seafood stock: Adds depth and a savory background note to the cooking liquid for shellfish.
  • white vinegar: Contributes additional acidity to the mignonette, enhancing its flavor.

Let’s Cook

Our foray into the world of Westerosi cuisine begins with a straightforward preparation. Boiling the shellfish might not carry the exotic appeal of raw consumption, but it ensures a safe, delightful experience, bringing the essence of Braavos’s docks to our tables, without the risk.

game of thrones shell fish recipe

The Thin Man preferred his oysters with vinegar – a common snack in Braavos. For my oysters, clams and mussels, I prepared a simple shallot mignonette to be served in the shells for a boost of flavor. If Ayra had sold this to the Thin Man, I’m sure Ayra could have killed the Thin Man before she saw one of her main targets.

mignonette from game of thrones

Let’s Cook

First up, we’re tackling the mignonette sauce. Grab your shallot, garlic, and horseradish and give them a fine mince. Toss these into a bowl along with apple cider vinegar, a good splash of white vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, and a handful of fresh parsley and oregano for that herby goodness. Now, hit it with a bit of salt, give it a good mix, and let it chill in the fridge. You want those flavors to really get to know each other, so give it at least thirty minutes.

Cleaning the Shellfish

While your sauce is chilling, it’s time to clean your shellfish. Whether it’s oysters, clams, cockles, or those substitute mussels, they all need a good scrub under cold water. If you’ve got mussels in the mix, don’t forget to debeard them—that means pulling off the fibrous bits that stick out. Any shells that are already open? Give them a tap. If they don’t close up, it’s time to say goodbye. Keep the good ones chilled until you’re ready for the next step.

Cooking the Shellfish

Fill a shallow pan with water, enough to cover the bottom. Stir in your garlic broth base or seafood stock and season with a little salt. Once you’ve got it simmering, add your shellfish, placing them flat side down if they have a flat side. Slap a lid on and let them cook for about 3-6 minutes. You’re looking for them to pop open, signaling they’re ready. Any stubborn ones that stay shut? Those are no-gos. Toss them out.

If You’re Going with Crayfish

If crayfish are on the menu, once you’ve scooped out the shellfish, drop the crayfish into the same broth. They’ll need about 4-5 minutes to cook through and turn that bright red color. Then, they’re good to go.

Serving It Up

For the oysters, you’ll need to pry them open since they won’t greet you wide-open like clams or mussels. Serve them up on their half shells, either warm or cooled down, your call. Loosen up the meat from all the shells but let them sit pretty on their shell beds. Now, grab that chilled mignonette sauce and spoon a teaspoon or two onto each shell.

oysters and vinegar from game of thrones

Valar Morghulis.

  • Proper Shellfish Preparation: Thoroughly cleaning and inspecting your shellfish before cooking is crucial. Discard any shellfish that are open before cooking and those that do not open after cooking to ensure they are safe to eat.
  • Chilling the Mignonette: Allowing the mignonette sauce to chill for at least thirty minutes before serving is key. This resting period lets the flavors meld together, creating a more cohesive and flavorful sauce.
  • Substituting Cockles with Mussels: If cockles are not available, mussels can be a great substitute. Remember to debeard the mussels before cooking, which involves removing the fibrous material attached to them.
  • Serving Temperature: Shellfish can be served warm or chilled, depending on personal preference. Serving them chilled is refreshing, especially in warmer months, but warm shellfish can provide a comforting, richer taste experience.
  • Seasoning to Taste: Don’t forget to season your cooking water and mignonette sauce with salt to taste. Proper seasoning will bring out the natural flavors of the shellfish and enhance the overall taste of the dish.
  • Safety with Raw Shellfish: Always source your shellfish from reputable suppliers. Freshness is key to not only the flavor but also the safety of eating raw or lightly cooked shellfish.
  • Cooking Crayfish: If including crayfish, ensure they are cooked until bright red and heated through. Like lobster, crayfish change color when cooked, signaling they’re done.

With our oysters, clams, and cockles (or mussels) served up with that sharp, refreshing mignonette sauce, we’ve not just crafted a dish; we’ve paid homage to Arya Stark’s journey in Braavos. Like her, we’ve navigated through the process with focus and a bit of stealth, ensuring every step is purposeful, every ingredient meaningful. This isn’t just food; it’s a nod to resilience, to the stories we cherish, and to the simple yet profound joy of sharing a meal that has a tale behind it. So, Hungry People, as you enjoy each bite, remember the paths taken not only by Arya but by yourselves in preparing this feast.

Valar Dohaeris— all men must serve, and today, you’ve served a dish worthy of the Seven Kingdoms. Enjoy!

oysters clams cockles

Oysters, Clams & Cockles | Game of Thrones Inspired Recipes

The Starving Chef
This Game of Thrones inspired recipe brings Arya Stark's Braavos adventures to your table with a delicious mix of oysters, clams, and mussels.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Fictional Feasts
Cuisine Game of Thrones
Servings 4


  • 16 oz raw oysters
  • 16 oz raw clams
  • 16 oz cockles or can sub cooked mussels



  • 16 oz raw crayfish
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic broth base or can sub seafood stock


  • Mince the shallot, garlic, and horseradish. Add to a bowl with the apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley, and oregano. Season with salt to taste. Chill for at least thirty minutes.
  • Thoroughly scrub the shells (oysters, clams, and either cockles or mussels) under cold water until they are clean. For mussels, debeard them. Discard any shells that are open and do not close when tapped. Keep chilled until ready to cook.
  • Pour water into a shallow pan with a lid. Stir in the garlic broth base or seafood stock until dissolved. Season with additional salt to taste. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the shells, flat side down for those applicable. Cover and cook for 3-6 minutes, until all the shells open. Discard any that do not open. Remove from the broth.
  • If using crayfish, add to the broth and boil for 4-5 minutes, until they are cooked through and bright red.
  • Pry the oysters apart (note: they will not open like clams and mussels do) and serve on half shells. Serve warm or chilled.
  • Gently loosen the meat from all the shells but leave it on the shell for serving. Spoon a teaspoon or two of the vinegar mixture onto each shell. Serve while contemplating the strategic moves of your favorite Game of Thrones characters. Enjoy!
Keyword clams, Game of Thrones, oysters
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