Within the last year, one of the greatest foods that I have tried for the first time is oysters. Let’s face it, one of the unfortunate aspects of living in the Midwest is a lack of seafood in the area. Although, occasionally fancier restaurants will have oysters on the menu. I had always wanted to try oysters since I’m a big fan of shellfish, but since oysters can typically only be ordered in portions of six or twelve I was always too afraid to try them. Luckily, my parents introduced me to one of my new favorite restaurants, Father Fats. The unique aspect of this place is that it is a “small plates” restaurant. This means the portions of everything you order is “small,” even as small as only ordering one oyster at a time. This was the chance I needed to try what is now one of my favorite foods. I love this small plates concept, and I wish more restaurants participate in this concept. It’s so nice to be able to try new foods in small portions before deciding that you want more. For people that are budget vultures, like myself, it gives you the opportunity to try new things without worrying about wasting food if you don’t like it.
After trying oysters, they became a guilty pleasure, but since I live in Wisconsin, I assumed I would only ever be able to have them in restaurants. Given the absence of oceans nearby, it would be challenging for a grocery store to sell fresh oysters. However, one day I was in the local meat market pursuing the seafood section, and I saw it. In the frozen section there was a tub labeled shucked oysters. I automatically grabbed it. I was SO excited to try to cook them. No, they weren’t fresh from the sea, but at least they also weren’t grossly canned with a bunch of added preservatives.
Once I got home I realized I had a new problem on my hands. After some online perusing, the recipes for oysters all had instructions for cooking them while they were still in the shell. I was bummed. I now had a whole tub of oysters that I had no idea how to successfully cook. I put them back in the freezer and decided that would be a problem for a later date.
Luckily, the family expert of cooking, my mom, was coming up to visit. I knew that with our two brains combined, we could figure out the best solution for cooking them up. We had enough oysters in the tub that we were able to make two batches. This allowed us two chances to practice and see what worked best. Since it seemed like most of the regular oyster recipes were done on the grill, we decided to stick to that method. However, since our oysters were already shucked, we needed a new vessel to cook them in. We ended up using a grilling basket lined with tin foil, but I’m positive a grill safe cookie sheet lined with foil would work just as well.
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 tbsp Butter – Melted
2 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1. Before prepping the oysters, the first step to take is preheating the grill. To ensure that the oysters are cooked properly, the grill should be hovering around the 400 degree mark before putting the basket of oysters on it.
2. While you are waiting for the grill to heat up, this time can be used to prep the oysters. Whatever vessel you are cooking them in needs to be lined with foil before adding ingredients into it. This prevents oil from dripping into the flames of the grill, and it makes for easier clean up. Personally, I recommend getting a grilling basket if you don’t have one yet. This basket can be used not only for cooking small seafood items like oysters, but is also convenient for grilling veggies.
3. After the basket is lined with foil, pour the olive oil into the center of it. There is no need to spread the oil around. This will be taken care of later.
4. Because the oysters in this scenario have already been shucked and have been stored frozen in a tub with extra liquid, it is important to pat them dry before adding them into the basket. The extra liquid they were frozen with has helped to keep them fresh, but it also makes them too liquidy to cook up if you don’t pat them dry with a paper towel first.
5. Once the oysters have been patted dry, drop them directly into the oil and stir them into it, making sure they are entirely coated, then separate them so they aren’t all clumped in a pile. For this reason, I prefer to make oysters in two batches of 14. Otherwise that is a lot of oysters to try and fit in one basket without putting them too close to each other. By separating the oysters out, the oil is being spread with them. This is why the oil didn’t need to be spread in step three.
6. When the oysters have been properly arranged, it is time to make the garlic butter mixture. This is super easy. Simply melt the butter and mix in the garlic, parsley, and Cajun seasoning. After it is mixed together, put about one heaping teaspoon of the garlic butter on top of each oyster.
7. Before putting the oysters on the grill there is one last step to take – adding the cheese. The Parmesan is an essential ingredient to this dish that pulls everything together, but you want to avoid overdoing it. Too much of the cheese will overwhelm all the rest of the flavors. I recommend doing no more than 1/2 teaspoon on each oyster.
8. Now the oysters are ready to go on the grill, and they cook up super quickly! Put the basket on the top shelf, close it, and check on them in 7 minutes. DO NOT OPEN IT DURING THAT TIME! If the butter/oil in the basket is simmering after 7 minutes, they are ready to eat. If it’s not boiling yet, close the grill and check them again in 2 minutes. As long as your grill is at 400 degrees, they really shouldn’t need more than 9 minutes of cooking time. You do not want to overcook them because they will get an odd texture if you do.
Kitchen Tip: You can easily eat the oysters as is, but hot sauce takes their taste profile one step farther. As always, I recommend using Crystal’s Hot Sauce. One drop of hot sauce on each oyster should be sufficient to add that extra kick.
I’m so glad to have found a way to cook up oysters even though I live nowhere near an ocean! I hope that you are able to find some oysters at your local grocery store next time you shop. They are such a nice appetizer to add to any meal, and your guests will be so impressed if you serve them something as elegant as an oyster.
Like this recipe? Check out some of my other grilled recipes listed below
Grilled Spice-Rubbed Chicken https://soupsonwithschallock.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/grilled-spice-rubbed-chicken/
Tasty Turkey Burgers https://soupsonwithschallock.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/tasty-turkey-burgers/