I completed allergy tests earlier this year to confirm that while I am allergic to crustaceans, mollusks not contaminated by being stored or cooked with shrimp, crab, lobsters etc. will do me no harm. That was great news, it meant I could partake of some of the best seafood in the country, top-ranked oysters from Hama Hama and Willapa Bay that are harvested right in my backyard. My only prior taste of the mollusk had been deep-fried in a po-boy; I enjoyed it but it wasn’t mind-blowing. I tried Hama Hama oysters for the first time at a cider tasting event at a local resort, it was life-changing. The blue pool oyster was crisp and light but I couldn’t get over the fact that it was raw, so I ordered a few Hama Hamas from the grill, brushed with chipotle butter – heavenly. So yesterday, after a massive storm with 75mph winds, flooding, power outages and fallen trees, I braved the hourlong trip along the Hood Canal to procure some fresh, clean oysters. I have no experience with shucking, so I took the easy route and allowed the heat from the grill to slightly open the cooked oysters, the jerk butter added a little kick to the naturally salty oyster ‘soup’. The butter is very versatile and can be used with corn, steaks, eggs, fish, or in any operation that could benefit from a bit of spicy fat. I did not add salt here since the oysters are themselves salty but if you’re using the butter in another dish, feel free to add some or use salted butter. Substitute the butter with coconut oil, duck fat or ghee if you’re into that.
1. Stir together until spices are evenly distributed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 whole scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tsp freshly ground allspice (pimento berries)
1 small scotch bonnet habanero, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2. You may shape the butter and refrigerate it, wrapped in parchment or use immediately.
Just throw ’em on a hot grill for easy opening. They won’t open as wide as mussels do but it makes things easier