If You’re Not Grilling Your Oysters, You’re Missing Out
Try this recipe, featuring chorizo and ramps, from Crown Jewel in Maine
Few things say summer more than sitting outside on a warm evening with a cold beer tipping back raw oysters. Of course, that’s assuming you enjoy uncooked oysters — and are willing to risk becoming one of the 80,000 or so poor souls who develop a case of food poisoning in the United States annually after ingesting saltwater bacteria with their shellfish.
One way to eliminate that risk is to do what Alexandra Wight does with oysters at Crown Jewel, her sustainably-focused seafood restaurant off the coast of Portland, Maine: grill ’em.
Based on a clams-casino-inspired dish that Wight’s aunt would make each summer, the grilled oysters at Crown Jewel are sourced from a farm about 20 minutes north of the restaurant — by boat. Cultivated for more than two years while they grow in the waters of Casco Bay, the world-class Love Point oysters are distinctively bright and briny.
“Grilled oysters are a selfish ask of our chef, but I think they’re delicious,” Wight says. “They’re a fun way to introduce people who are a little bit nervous about having them totally raw.”
Described by Wight as a “very, very loose play on Oysters Rockefeller,” Crown Jewel’s oysters are made with fresh local ramps and sourdough bread crumbles that have been doused in chorizo butter.
“It’s really a sumptuous, luxurious bite, a big flavor bomb with a lot coming through,” Wight says. “The dish is a good party trick and doesn’t take long to make. It’s fun and unexpected and, to me, just really signifies summer. It was important to me to have something on the menu that evoked good memories.”
Here’s how to start making some of your own.
Crown Jewel Grilled Oysters
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 12 oysters
- 12 oysters
- 12 tsp. ramp butter (1.5 lbs. ramps, 1 lb. butter — extra can be frozen)
- 1.5 cup sourdough crumbles (1 7.9 oz. pack chorizo, 1 lb. butter, 6 thick slices sourdough bread; will have leftovers)
- 1 jar store-bought pickled red onions
- Micro cilantro
To make the ramp butter, finely chop ramps, mix well with room-temperature butter and set aside.
To make sourdough crumbles, pulse dry sourdough bread in a Cuisinart until it resembles fine crumbles. Set aside.
Roughly chop chorizo and put into a Cuisinart with butter. Pulse until well combined and mostly smooth.
Melt 6 tbsp. chorizo butter in a skillet. Add sourdough crumbles and cook until the bread has absorbed the butter. Spread on a sheet tray and put into a 350-degree oven for five minutes, then let cool.
Shuck oysters. Top each oyster with 1 tsp. of ramp butter. Place oysters on a grill until cooked through — about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from grill and top each oyster with 2 tsp. sourdough crumbles, a couple of pickled red onion slices and sprigs of micro cilantro.
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