Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings
Grilled oysters have been the rage since the Native Americans first introduced them to the early colonists. President Abraham Lincoln made oysters even more famous when he served fire-roasted oysters at his inauguration. Today, none is more famous than those of Drago's Restaurant in New Orleans. For those not wishing to light the grill, here is a simple oven version. However, they work just as well over hot coals.
36 fresh-shucked Louisiana oysters on the half shell, liquid reserved
¾ cup heavy-smoked applewood or pecan wood bacon
½ tsp or more cayenne pepper
½ pound unsalted butter (preferably Bittersweet Plantation® Dairy Butter), cut into ½-inch cubes
8 cloves garlic
2 tbsps chopped parsley
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
½ tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1 tbsp granulated garlic
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
Have your seafood supplier shuck 3 dozen oysters, reserving liquid. Make sure to retain the half shells. Wash shells completely and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and golden-brown. Do not burn bacon fat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to the bowl of a food processor, reserving bacon fat and cooling slightly. Add butter, garlic cloves, parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper, black pepper, granulated garlic and kosher salt to the food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally. With machine running, add white wine, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat and any reserved oyster liquid. Continue to process until well blended. Place a large sheet of wax paper on a flat work surface. Place processed butter onto the center of the wax paper and slowly roll into a log using the paper as an aid. Shape butter into a 2-inch diameter log. Wrap tightly and chill at least 2 hours until firm. Butter can be made 2–3 days in advance. When ready, preheat oven to 400°F. Place the oyster shells on a large cookie sheet and place one oyster on each shell. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and slice into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place one butter round on the top of each oyster and place in oven. Cook until butter is melted and begins to brown and oysters are curled, 12–15 minutes. Do not overcook. You may wish to use the identical cooking procedure over your charcoal or gas fire grill. To serve, place a layer of rock salt onto 6 plates and divide oysters equally.