Fall has arrived here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia – which means, oyster harvests are in full swing in the waters surrounding our little peninsula. From the salts on the seaside, to the sweeter guys harvested out of the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers on the western shore – we have such an amazing variety of oysters in Virginia.
A couple of weeks ago the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce hosted it’s 45th Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival – an event that’s anticipated all year long. Fried oysters, steamed oysters, raw oysters…a true celebration of the briny bivalve.
I was running around taking photos to earn my keep, in exchange for my ticket. But, I managed to tote over my little portable grill and snag a few oysters to throw on it, to get some photos to share of this super easy way to prepare them with you guys.
Oysters on the half, brushed with a simple garlic-herb butter while on the grill. Couldn’t get easier, delicious, or more impressive. If shucking isn’t your thing, you can steam them until they pop open, and then pry off the top shell – the garlic butter will still keep them plump and juicy.
If you’re really lucky, like I was on this particular day, you may find a tiny friend lurking inside your oyster. Pea crabs are considered a delicacy by many around here, tender yet slightly crunchy little crustacean parasites that like to set up shop inside our oysters. We eat them, but if it’s not your thing – by all means, serve them their final eviction notice before enjoying.
A few minutes on the grill is all you need, just until you see the butter start to sizzle. A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish. Enjoy them hot, and be prepared to reload the grill. You can’t eat just one!
Grilled Oysters with Garlic-Herb Butter
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
12 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
24 large oysters, shucked and on half-shell
fresh lemon wedges, for serving
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and herbs and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat your grill to the low end of the high spectrum (about 450 degrees).
Carefeully place oysters on the grill and spoon a small amount of the garlic butter into the center of each oyster (about 1 tsp). Cover, and let oysters cook for about 5 minutes.
Once the butter is sizzling and they oysters have plumped up, they’re ready. Remove from the grill and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges and give a squeeze just before enjoying.