Grilled oysters with habanero butter
A group of friends and I have started an annual tradition of traveling to Austin, TX for the United States Grand Prix. This four-day weekend is one of the highlights of my year. The race is always exciting and the city of Austin is amazing.
The food and gluttony of the weekend are almost as fun for me as the race itself. In the sea of Austin’s amazing restaurants, one that stands out is Lucy’s Fried Chicken. My friends and I enjoy spicy food and absolutely love their Diablo Oysters. I find myself craving them constantly after I return home. So, I decided to head to my kitchen and devise a plan that would allow me to enjoy this dish year round. The recipe I crafted is surprisingly simple and is fairly accurate replica of those spicy shellfish I’ve come to love.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken uses Gulf oysters for their recipe. My local market doesn’t carry Gulf oysters so I use Blue Points instead. I encourage you to always eat local when you can. Local products are always going to be the most fresh and flavorful. Supporting your local farmer or fisherman keeps money in your community and helps preserve local food culture. If you live on the coast and a particular type of oyster is found in your area go ahead and use it.
On Lucy’s menu, the description for Diablo Oysters reads “Habanero butter, jalapeno, parmesan, bacon.” Simple enough.
Start by making the habanero butter, because it’s fairly easy and straightforward. Mince one habanero (food-safe gloves are recommended) and whip it together with a half a stick of butter. That’s 4 tablespoons, or ¼ cup for those who prefer their butter in a tub. When finished, place the butter mixture in the fridge.
Next, get the bacon lardons going. In a skillet, fry ½ cup of diced bacon until crispy. Drain the grease and set the lardons aside.
You are now ready to fire up your grill. While it’s getting nice and hot you’ll want to start shucking your oysters. If you are a first timer at shucking oysters don’t fret. After you get the technique down it’s as easy as using a can opener.
If you have an Oyster Knife that would be ideal. If you don’t happen to have an oyster knife and fancy yourself as a bit of a MacGyver, a clean flat head screwdriver can get the job done. Unfortunately, I did not get any photos of myself shucking oysters, but I did find this video from Great British Chefs on how to shuck your oysters at home. It’s quick and to the point.
Once your oysters are shucked it’s time to prep them for the grill. Being careful not to spill the natural juices in the bottom of the shell, spoon one teaspoon of habanero butter onto each oyster. Next, sprinkle on a few lardons and Parmesan cheese to the top of each oyster. This recipe can be pretty intense if you don’t like spicy food. My family doesn’t share my penchant for all things fiery so I use a teaspoon of regular butter as a substitute for their oysters.
Place the oysters on the hottest part of your grill. When the edges start to curl away from the shell, the oysters are done. This usually takes 5-7 minutes. After you remove the oysters from the grill, garnish them with a fresh slice of jalapeno. They taste even better with a cold Lone Star beer for some reason. Enjoy.
- 1 dozen oysters shucked
- 2 habanero peppers
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- ¼ cup of butter
- ½ cup of lardons (diced bacon)
- ¼ cup of parmesan cheese
- mince 2 habanero peppers and whip into ¼ cup of butter and set refrigerate
- crisp ½ cup of lardons in a skillet and drain of excess grease.
- shuck 1 dozen oysters being careful not to spill the liquid in the bottom of the shell.
- spoon 1 tsp of habanero butter on each oyster.
- Sprinkle a few lardons and parmesan cheese on top of each oyster.
- Place oysters on a preheated grill at the hottest area of the grate. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the edges of the oyster start to bubble and peel away from the shell.
- Garnish with a slice of fresh jalapeño. Serve immediately.