On Saturday, we had friends over for an oyster party, a summer tradition we hope to continue year after year. We are lucky enough to have access to a Restaurant Depot, where they sell local Blue Point oysters in bags of 100. My seafood-averse sister, Jane, came over too, where she tried her first raw oyster ever! (She hated it). We ended up talking, dancing and enjoying each other's company over the course of 90 (!) oysters, which is not too shabby for a group of six.
Oysters are, of course, best eaten raw on the half shell, freshly shucked, with lemon, Tabasco, horseradish, or mignonette, but we also enjoyed them as shooters and grilled. Below you'll find recipes for the shallot mignonette served with raw oysters, the McClure's Bloody Mary shooters, and a garlic butter herb sauce for the grilled oysters.
Shallot Mignonette (makes approximately 1/4 cup)
- 1 medium sized shallot, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red wine or champagne vinegar
- approximately 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes, so that the shallots gently pickle. Serve with raw oysters on the half shell.
McClure's Bloody Mary Shooters (Makes 4 cups of mix):
- 3 cups McClure's Bloody Mary mix (you can buy it at specialty food stores)
- 1 cup vodka
- 1 freshly shucked raw oyster
- optional: fresh dill or lemon wedge to garnish
You'll need glasses that are at least 3 ounces for these (I used half mason jars). Place a freshly shucked oyster on the bottom of each glass. In a pyrex measuring cup, combine the bloody Mary mix with the vodka and stir. Pour 1.5 ounces of liquid into each shooter.
(If McClure's is too acidic for you, add tomato paste to the mixture one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency/taste)
Garlic Butter Herb sauce for Grilled Oysters (makes enough for 12 oysters):
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives and parsley
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the garlic in butter and olive oil. When the butter begins to bubble, add the red pepper flakes and half of the chopped herbs. When the garlic is browned at the edges, take the saucepan off the heat, letting it cool slightly. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice and the rest of the fresh herbs. Spoon the warm sauce over grilled oysters.
To grill oysters, place oysters, unshucked, on a grill over medium-high heat. Place the lid on the grill and let the oysters steam for 2-4 minutes. These oysters were on the larger side, so they took close to 4 minutes. Some of them may open slightly and spit out the brine. When that happens, you know that they are done. Carefully remove them from the heat. Using a towel or oven mitts, open the top shell with an oyster knife. The tops should pop off easily.
Hope you all had a great 4th of July!