• 4 ounces butter
  • 3 tablespoons sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 48 oysters (6 to 12 per person), cleansed of mud

Prepare a grill setup and burn a hardwood fire to build up some good coals.

Round up some tongs, some oyster knives or just small paring knives, and some kitchen towels (the faded, stained, and torn ones, not the hand-embroidered ones).

Put the butter, sherry, and cayenne in a small clay pot or saucepan, and place in a nest of coals out of the way to heat. Simmer briefly, and then keep warm.

Meanwhile, arrange the oysters, rounded side down, on the grill over the coal bed. Those who like them rare will want to pull them from the heat as soon as the shell yawns one iota. This is when they are juiciest, so apply caution and kitchen towels.

As the oysters remain over the coals, they cook and shrink and eventually dry out entirely. But as I previously said, tastes in shellfish-eating vary infinitely. This is a good opportunity for experimentation.

Use the knife to pop off the top shell, then slide the knife under the meat to free it, trying not to mangle it. Spoon on sherry butter and eat immediately.

Serves 8.


Recipe adapted from Cooking with Fire © Paula Marcoux.

Photography by © Keller & Keller. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

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