It’s summer and like I said in this post for Beef, Stout & Oyster Pie last week, I am oyster-crazy right now. Once grilled, small oysters take on an sweeter, concentrated note. And topped with herb butter, well, it’s basically game over. Thanks to Matthew’s recipe, you know where I’ll be next weekend: huddled by the grill with a cold one and these. -Maggie
While I enjoy oysters all year-round, there’s something about summer in New England that gets me craving these bivalves on a far too regular basis. Not that I’m complaining, as this is the place to have those kinds of cravings. There are many varieties to choose from, should I ever become bored with one. My favorites span from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod, with many subtle and not so subtle differences between each location.
The traditional method of consuming oysters – raw with some lemon, cocktail sauce and/or horseradish – gets me every time. I love it.
However, I’ve branched out a bit and have had some exciting combinations lately – including shaved pickled ginger ice and red wine mignonette. I could also devour an entire batch of fried oysters in under thirty seconds if it weren’t for forcing myself not to do so. I had yet, however, been in the good fortune to indulge on a grilled oyster. That’s where this recipe, my backyard and the delightfully simple process for making grilled oysters at home come together.
I poured some lump charcoal into the chimney starter and began getting excited as the smoke subsided and the flames emerged. As things were getting going there, I shucked the oysters and sat them on ice to wait, while being sure to keep as much liquid intact as I could. You can also grill the oysters without shucking them first, allowing them to open on their own slightly, easier than shucking away the flat shell. However, that method runs the risk of getting a burn as well as over-cooking the oyster.
I had previously made some herb butter in anticipation, and had that on the side ready to go. Placing the oysters cup-side down, I let them heat up on the grate over the coals for about a minute before adding in a tablespoon or so of the herb butter to each one. Once the oysters all have a generous heap of flavor added, cover the grill and let them cook for a 3-5 minutes. You don’t have to worry about under-cooking here – but you should pay attention, don’t let the oysters become dried out and overcooked.
Carefully remove the oysters and place on a platter. I used a long pair of grilling tongs to do this, and it seemed to do the trick. Let the oysters cool just enough so that you are able to eat them without burning your mouth. (It’s a hard wait, I know!) Once the oysters have cooled to an edible temperature, use a fork or toothpick to enjoy. You may want to have a side of crusty bread handy to indulge in the leftover herb butter!
Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter
Eat Boutique Editors Note: Not everyone has a charcoal grill, and Matthew has assured us that a gas grill would also work. However, one loses the smoky flavor captured when the grill is covered if using gas, so keep that in mind!
Serves 3 to 4
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons oregano leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- Pinch salt
- 1 dozen oysters
- Oyster shucking knife
- Place the butter, herbs, garlic and salt into a small mixing bowl or mortar/pestle. Combine with a spoon until all ingredients are mixed well. Set aside. If not immediately using, place in the fridge.
- Light your charcoal and allow grill to heat – this is a high-heat recipe, and you want red-hot coals!
- Meanwhile, shuck the oysters with an oyster shucking knife, while holding the oyster with either a shucking glove or other type of hand protection. Be careful to keep the liquid inside intact as it adds to the flavor. Once shucked, place on a plate filled with ice until all are opened.
- Place oysters cup-side down on the grate over the hot coals. Allow to cook uncovered for about a minute. The oysters will begin to sizzle and pop – be alert for any airborne liquids! Once they get to this point, add in about a tablespoon of herb butter to each oyster. Cover the grill and let cook 3 to 5 minutes, paying attention not to over-cook the oysters.
- Once cooked, remove from grill with tongs and let cool just long enough to eat!
Photos taken and styled by Matthew Petrelis.
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