The Louisiana oyster season just recently began and already I've had more luscious Louisiana bivalves than I did during the entire season last year. That's a wonderful thing. My mass consumption has been due in large part to a mini sack the hubby and I had shipped up a couple of weeks back. Those 100 or so plump and briny beauties made for a pretty serious R&D session in my kitchen. Over the course of two days, I researched and developed fun new flavor combinations for slurping and shooting raw oysters and created several exciting new ways to cook them. One of my tasty turnouts was this pork-and-pepper spin on the traditional Chargrilled Oysters. Here, I amped up the butter base with smoky and slightly chewy pieces of bacon and balanced out each bite with the crunch and heat of fresh jalapeños and several bright hits of green Tabasco.
Because oysters are always running good this time of year, they are a major part of the New Orleans holiday table. And these would certainly be a wonderful prelude to Thanksgiving dinner. They'd also be a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving Friday family seafood cookout or similar get-together. But regardless of when you try them, I know you will enjoy them. Happy Thanksgiving y'all!
Grilled Oysters with Bacon and Jalapeños Recipe
6 bacon slices
1 stick butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh jalapeños peppers
2 tablespoons Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dozen large freshly shucked oysters on the half shell
1 cup grated smoked Gouda
Grilled French bread, for serving
In a large skillet over medium high-heat, cook bacon until almost crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a stack oaf paper towels to drain; coarsely chop. Measure out 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from pan and place in a medium bowl. Add softened butter, garlic, green onions, jalapeños, Tabasco Green Sauce, thyme, pepper and salt; stir until well combined. Fold in chopped bacon. Preheat grill for direct cooking over high heat. Spread a generous amount of butter mixture over each oyster on the half shell; there should be enough so when the butter melts some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up. Place filled oyster shells directly over the hottest part of the grill. Cook until oysters puff up and their edges curl and the butter melts and begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon of the grated smoked Gouda. Cook just until cheese is melted. Serve oysters sizzling hot in their shells with plenty of grilled French bread for dipping. Makes 4-6 appetizer servings.