- Yield: 100 oysters
Grilled Oysters with Goat Cheese Butter, House-Cured Bacon, Black-Eyed Pea/Asparagus Salsa, Sweet Potato Barbecue Sauce and Sweet Potato “Hay”
Recipe courtesy of Randy Macdonald, Executive Chef, Seabrook Island (S.C.) Club
- oysters - 100 on the half-shell, shucked, shell fragments removed and meat loosened from the bottom shell
- panko bread crumbs - 1 cup, toasted
- butter - 1/4 cup, melted
- For House-Cured Bacon
- pork belly - 1- 3 to 6lb., rinced, dried and skin scored
- kosher salt - 1 cup
- pink curing salt - 3 Tbsps.
- sugar - 1 cup
- molasses - 1/2 cup
- honey - 1/2 cup
- smoked paprika - 1/2 cup
- chipotle powder - 1/4 cup
- ancho powder - 1/4 cup
- ground cumin - 1 Tbsp.
- ground coriander - 1 Tbsp.
- For Goat Cheese Butter
- unsalted butter - 1 lb. at room temperature
- goat cheese - 1/2 lb., local or high-quality soft
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese - 1/4 cup, grated
- spinich leaves - 1 qt., packed
- sweet potato - 1 large roasted, peeled
- minced garlic - 1 tsp.
- fresh thyme leaves - 1/2 tsp., chopped
- kosher salt - to taste
- freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- green Tabasco sauce - to taste (jalapeno)
- For Black-Eyed Pea/Asparagus salsa (Yield: 3 quarts)
- black-eyed peas - 1 qt., dried, picked over for debris
- ham hock - 1 smoked
- red onion - 1, split
- bay leaves - 3
- garlic cloves - 3
- sweet yellow corn - 2 ears, shucked down to the light green husk
- fresh asparagus - 1 bundle, bottom one-third discarded
- tomato - 1 large, cored and split
- scallions - 4, minced
- fresh jalapeno - 1 large (2, if you like it hotter)
- sherry vinegar - 1/4 cup
- extra virgin olive oil - 1 cup
- kosher salt - to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper - to taste
- green Tobasco sauce - to taste (jalapeno)
- For Sweet Potato Barbeque Sauce (Yield: 2 quarts)
- sweet potatoes - 4 large, cut in half lengthwise
- sweet onions - 2, peeled and cut in half through horizon
- apple cider vinegar - 1 pt.
- light brown sugar - 1 cup, packed
- chipotle puree - 3 Tbsps. (made by pureeing canned chipotles in adobo and straining)
- ketchup - 1 cup
- molasses - 2 Tbsps.
- Worcestershire sauce - 2 Tbsps.
- ham hock or chicken stock - 2 qts.
- kosher salt - to taste
- For Sweet Potato "Hay" (Yield: enough to garnusg 20 plates of 5 oysters)
- sweet potatoes - 3 large, peeled and trimmed flat
- canola oil - 1 gal.
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
- Toss toasted panko bread crumbs in melted butter.
For House-Cured Bacon:
- Combine all of the spices. Rub belly all over with the mixture until well coated. Wrap and refrigerate in pan for 10 days, turning occasionally.
- Unwrap and rinse well. Pat dry and refrigerate uncovered on a rack for two days.
- Soak about 4 to 6 cups of your favorite wood-smoking chips in warm water for an hour or more.
- Prepare outdoor smoker or kettle-type grill to have a small hardwood charcoal fire on one side that can be maintained at a constant low temperature (200º F.) and can be easily accessed to add smoking chips.
- Smoke at 200º F. for 2 to 3 hours or until internal temperature reaches 150º F. Add charcoal and/or wood chips to maintain smoke.
- Cool. Remove rind and slice to desired thickness.
For Goat Cheese Butter:
- Blanch spinach leaves briefly in boiling salted water; shock in ice water, squeeze dry and chop fine.
- Combine with all remaining ingredients, season to taste and roll into logs, roughly the diameter of the “heart” of the oysters you are using.
- Refrigerate, then cut into 1/16” “coins.”
For Black-Eyed Pea/Asparagus Salsa:
- Place ham hock, garlic, one-half of the onion and bay leaves in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim, return to simmer and cook until hock is tender (about1 to 1 1/2 hours).
- Strain water over peas and simmer until peas are tender (about 30 to 45 minutes), adding more water if necessary. Cool the hock.
- Cool peas and reserve liquid for use in Sweet Potato Barbecue Sauce recipe (below). Dice the hock meat, discard the bones, skin and tendons.
- Soak corn in warm water for 15 minutes, then grill until husks are charred and corn is tender. Cool, shuck and cut corn from the cob.
- Toss tomato halves, remaining onion half, scallions, jalapeno and asparagus with approximately one-quarter of the oil. Grill all briefly on all sides until lightly blackened overall.
- Peel, seed and dice the tomato and jalapeno. Dice asparagus and scallions.
- Combine peas, corn, asparagus, jalapeno, scallions, onion, vinegar and remaining oil. Season to taste.
For Sweet Potato Barbecue Sauce:
- Spray sweet potatoes and onions with a little oil and place on rack on half-sheet pan. Smoke on grill at 250º F. until onions and sweet potatoes are nearly tender.
- Meanwhile, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and reduce liquid by half. Peel sweet potatoes and rough-chop. Also rough-chop onions. Add to vinegar and sugar mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add stock, molasses and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Add ketchup, cook five more minutes. Puree and strain through medium chinois. Season to taste with salt.
For Sweet Potato "Hay":
- In a large pot or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 350º F.
- Using a Japanese spinning mandolin*, turn sweet potatoes into hot water and soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze dry, then deep-fry until crispy but still a little orange. Do not allow to turn all the way brown. Drain on paper towels and season to taste.
* If you don’t have a spinning mandolin, julienne sweet potatoes into fine matchsticks, either with standard mandolin or by hand.
- Cook bacon slices until crisp, one slice per oyster. Cut to fit inside the oyster.
- Top each oyster with a bacon piece, “coin” of the goat cheese butter and bread crumbs. Grill to order until butter is bubbly and oyster is hot.
- Drizzle with barbecue sauce and top with salsa.
- Garnish with fried sweet potato “hay.”