a dozen fresh oysters
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
pinch of sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1tbs. garlic, minced
4tbs. grated Pecorino Romano (or other hard, salty cheese)
pinch white pepper
juice of 1/4 lemon
more cheese and lemon, for finishing
The recipe is based off of a famous restaurant's specialty in New Orleans. The process is a long one, but you have to appreciate it: buying fresh (Louisiana!) oysters, laying out all the tools, washing and shucking them, laying them on the grill and drowning them in sauce. This endeavor was part of my family's holiday celebrations, and it took all afternoon-- let me tell you, it was worth it for this appetizer. If you make it into an entire meal, I'm sure no one would judge you for overindulging in the buttery, cheesy, slightly charred, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
First, shucking knives, which have slightly curved ends fit for the amount of prying necessary to separate oyster shells. Apparently only sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond anywhere outside the Gulf region. Weird.
Then, rinse your oysters. We did a quadruple batch, so the hose was necessary to attack the pile on the driveway.
Next, suit up. Unless you want to go around smelling like raw seafood for a few days, I highly recommend a trash bag over your clothes. Or maybe fishing gear, if you have it. Trust me, the odor can be pervasive. Then, ready your shucking knife and prepare to persuade the oysters to part with their shells.
Set the empty shells aside, paying attention to which ones are relatively flat on the bottom and would sit well on the grate. Heat up the grill and settle the shells on it. Using a spoon, tongs or-- if you're brave-- fingers, place the oysters back in the shells for grilling. You can put more than one oyster per shell; in fact, I recommend it.
Let the oysters cook alone until they just begin bubbling and their edges begin to curl. Mix together your sauce ingredients and spoon enough over each oyster that it fills the shell.
When the sauce starts to bubble, sprinkle some extra cheese over the top and let cook until the sauce at the edges is nicely brown.
Remove the oysters from the grill (careful, there might still be some flames hanging on to them) and serve sizzling with fresh lemon over the top. Absolutely mouthwatering.