Is there anything more Gulf Coast than oysters? I don’t know the answer, but I will tell you that I am happy to taste every single variety that our area offers. We recently held an oyster night and a few friends came over (one in particular who’s quite adept at shucking them). Our oyster of choice was Murder Point, and my recipe of choice was a Bon Appetit gem from Chef Vivian Howard: Hot Sauce Brown Butter Grilled Oysters, today’s 3rd day of Christmas recipe for my #12DaysofChristmas series. Considering the fact that Murder Point’s hashtag is #butterlove, I’d say we found a match.
I was also gifted the Stella from the Oyster Bed (which I covered last year in my gift guide). The Stella, an aluminum, star-shaped pan with deep wells, makes it a total cinch to grill oysters even if you don’t have shells.
For our oyster night, I wanted to do something different than the normal Rockefeller or chargrilled with breadcrumbs. I found the BA recipe in my search, and it was exactly what I was looking for: punchy, bold and the perfect foil for the raw preparation which we kept as simple as possible (cocktail or mignonette were in attendance, but totally unnecessary).
For the hot butter grilled oysters, I melted a stick of butter in a sauce pan and browned it. I didn’t worry too much about discarding the solids as I would have if I was using it for another preparation. I simply toasted the butter until brown and poured into a bowl. Then I added about a quarter of a cup of hot sauce (Crystal to be exact), stirred to mix, and put it in the fridge to solidify.
Once we ate our fill of raw Murder Points, we filled the wells of the Stella with three oysters each. We topped each well with a sliver of hot sauce brown butter, sprinkled some cooked bacon over, and placed it on a screaming hot grill for about 5 to 7 minutes until the oysters curled and became opaque. We garnished them with chopped parsley for color and to perhaps convince ourselves we were eating something moderately nutritious.
When the Stella came off the grill, there was a lovely golden well in the center that became a luscious dip for chunks of a freshly baked baguette Sara had picked up from our local wine shop. We stood over the table (not even bothering to feign propriety) and devoured every morsel of that piquant, briny goodness. It was the epitome of a perfect fall evening on the Gulf Coast.
If you don’t have a Stella or any of the oyster beds, you can absolutely make this grilled oysters recipe in oyster shells, scallop shells, or less glamorously in muffin tins in the oven. Trust me–with bacon hot sauce and butter and the freshest oysters you can find, you cannot go wrong.
This time of year, oysters are at their peak: plump, briny, and creamy. I have always loved oysters and ate them as much as I could in New England, but the Gulf Coast has ruined me for other oysters. I always find them to lack the explosion of flavor I’ve come to I expect. Why not incorporate our oysters into your Christmas Eve meal? I am planning a Feast of the Seven Fishes (a traditional Italian menu) with a Gulf Coast Flair in which this dish will assuredly appear.
Grilled Oysters with Brown Butter and Hot Sauce
- a dozen or more raw freshly shucked oysters
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup hot sauce of choice
- 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- a bunch of parsley chopped
- crusty bread for serving
About an hour before serving, make the hot sauce butter.
Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet until browned.
Pour into a ceramic or metal bowl.
Add hot sauce and stir.
Place in freezer for about thirty minutes to solidify.
Preheat grill to about 500 degrees.
In each well or shell, place 3-4 oysters.
Add a sliver (about a teaspoon) of brown butter.
Sprinkle with bacon.
Grill for 5-7 minutes until curled and opaque.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Scoop up with bread, and don’t forget the sauce.