Garlic butter with parsley brings spring to oysters
Grilling them on the half shell makes for a pretty presentation — and fail-safe cooking
My grilled oysters with green garlic butter dish looks as green and springy as your backyard at this time of year.
You may be familiar with the flavours in this butter from the classic French escargots à la bourguignonne. And, if I was a betting woman, I’d be willing to bet that 90 per cent of folks who love snails love this dish because of the rich green, garlicky butter. That’s definitely my fascination with it. But this butter isn’t just for escargots — it makes amazing grilled oysters and the ultimate garlic bread.
If you are buying oysters from a fish store or the grocery store, you can feel free to eat them all year long as they are more than likely being commercially raised and are safe. In fact, my favourite time of year to eat grilled oysters is spring and early summer.
I like to grill them on the half shell, which makes for both a pretty presentation and fail-safe cooking. The tough shell protects the delicate oysters from the hot fire.
The oyster simmers in its own juices mixed with the cooking liquid from a marinade, sauce or compound butter. This is just the right temperature, and will not result in overcooked, rubbery oysters unless you leave them on the grill too long.
Grilled Oysters with Green Garlic Butter MAKES 4 APPETIZER-SIZED PORTIONS
1 dozen shucked oysters Green Garlicky Butter (see recipe below) Hot sauce for serving Lemon wedges for serving
Start to finish: 15 minutes Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium direct heat. Line a sheet pan with the bottom oyster shells from the shucked oysters. Top each oyster with a generous spoonful of the oyster liquor (liquid that the oysters are packed in) and the green garlic butter.
Place oysters directly on the cooking grates. Cover the grill and cook until butter is melted and liquid is bubbling, about two to three minutes. You can tell if the oysters are cooked if they are opaque and puffed up. The edges will also stand out slightly.
Transfer to a serving platter lined with kosher salt and serve immediately with lemon wedges and favourite hot sauce, if desired.
Green Garlic Butter (a.k.a. Escargot Butter)
Grating garlic with a microplane provides a garlic paste that is more easily mixed into the butter.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated 1 small shallot, grated ½ teaspoon granulated or dehydrated garlic 2-4 tsp dry white wine, such as a French Burgundy or French-style Chardonnay, depending on taste ½ tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
Mash or stir butter until it is smooth and slightly fluffy. Add parsley, garlic, shallot and dehydrated garlic. Mix together, mashing with the back of a fork to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Add wine and salt.
Mix until smooth and fully incorporated. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.
On a piece of parchment or plastic wrap, drop butter in spoonfuls to form a log. Roll butter in plastic wrap and smooth out to form a round log about 1½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate until firm and easy to cut. Can be made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to three months.
Chef’snote: When I make this for the grilled oyster recipe above, I drop generous and equal spoonfuls of the soft butter on a piece of parchment paper and place it in the freezer to harden. This way, the butter is already portioned out for each oyster. You can do this in advance and place the individual butter patties in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Per serving: 284 calories (183 from fat); 21 grams fat (12 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 121 milligrams cholesterol; 415 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 0 g fibre; 0 g sugar; 15 g protein.
This butter isn’t just for escargots — it makes amazing grilled oysters and the ultimate garlic bread.