Oysters in the shell are summertime grilling fare

With summer in full swing, the grilling stories and recipes just keep on coming in the pages of A la Carte.

Such topics as cast-iron cookware on the grill, making the most of small grills and, most recently, grilling lean meats all have fueled readers’ passions for outdoor cooking. I’ll add a plug for one of my favorite foods on the grill: oysters in the shell.

This summertime tradition on the coast is a go-big or go-home meal. Because oysters come at a discount the more you buy, we usually purchase many more than our family can consume. When that happens, like it did over Fourth of July weekend, we just keep on grillin’ and shuck the uneaten oysters directly into freezer bags to use, once the weather cools, in oyster stew. The bivalves freeze surprisingly well and also are long keepers.

This year, we were even richer in the sea’s bounty when I couldn’t pass up live spot prawns at our local fish market. I could have grilled them whole, as well, but instead dismembered them and sautéed the heads and tails to give the oysters more space on the grates and eliminate some extra work for my dad. The heads, simmered for hours the next day with halibut bones, made the richest seafood stock I’ve every tasted, the perfect base for bouillabaisse with leftover roasted halibut.

We usually keep dipping sauces simple with melted butter and cocktail sauce. The prawns almost needed no adornment. But because I’m a fan of spicier preparations than most in my family, I’d consider mixing things up a bit with a Thai-inspired, mayonnaise-based sauce like this one from the Chicago Tribune. It’s touted with grilled oysters and shrimp.

See more photos of our seafood feast on my Facebook page.

Tribune News Service photo

Grilled Oysters and Shrimp With Thai-Creole Sauce

In a bowl, combine 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced; 2 tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped; 1/4 cup each: mayonnaise and chopped, fresh cilantro; 1 teaspoon each: sambal oelek and prepared horseradish; and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place 20 oysters in their shells, rounded-shell side down, on a hot grill; cover. Cook until oysters open, for 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer oysters to a platter. Place 12 large shrimp, peeled and butterflied, on the grill; brush shrimp with oil. Cook, turning once, until pink and cooked through; transfer to platter.

Serve with Thai-Creole sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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